Embattled police officer applies for taxpayer-funded benefits - WNEM TV 5

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Embattled police officer applies for taxpayer-funded benefits

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TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

He resigned because he was going to be fired, now a former Tempe police officer wants taxpayers to foot the bill for his retirement.

Former Tempe Officer Todd Long was a 17-year veteran of the department who focused much of his career on DUI patrol.

CBS 5 News was the first to tell you about two investigations surrounding Long, a criminal one and an internal one.

Earlier this year, Long was accused of lying under oath when getting a warrant to take blood from a DUI suspect. Detectives investigated Long for felony charges of "false swearing." The Maricopa County Attorney's Office turned down charges against Long, stating there was "no reasonable likelihood of conviction."

But internal investigators examining Long's behavior for police policy violations determined his actions were so egregious he was recommended for termination. Internal reports quote investigators as saying, "... the decision of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to decline/turn down the charges does not mean that you didn't commit the crime ... In fact, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office did find that you were dishonest in your actions ..."

Before his termination could go through, Long resigned with 17 years on the department, three years short of qualifying for full retirement benefits. But in a twist, he has applied for medical disability retirement. 

In 2009, Long was seriously injured in an on-duty motorcycle crash. Documents show that in January 2011, doctors released Long and cleared him to return to full duty with no limitations. Since returning to full duty, Long remained on Tempe's night DUI squad but he no longer rides a motorcycle.

In the two years since Long returned to full duty, he continued his certification as a member of Tempe's SWAT team, which requires passing a rigorous physical agility test. Nowhere in Long's personnel file is there any indication that his injuries from 2009 have prohibited him from doing his job, thus making him eligible for a medial retirement. But medical records are not public records, so those documents would not be included in the personnel file that CBS 5 News obtained. 

Long's medical retirement application will be reviewed by the Tempe Police Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board. 

If a medical retirement is granted, Long will receive his full pension as if he completed the required 20-year employment commitment.

Dozens of open DUI cases that were working their way through the court when Long got in trouble and subsequently resigned will likely be thrown out.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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