Trisha Eskridge, a veteran police officer, sustained multiple gunshot wounds while rescuing a baby during a deadly ambush. An independent medical examiner has determined that she will likely never be able to work as an officer again. Eskridge’s financial situation is uncertain as her benefits have begun to dry up and she awaits a decision on her disability retirement claim. Her sisters are advocating for her and expressing concern over her well-being. The Phoenix Police Pension Board is currently considering her case. Bianca Buono reported
Trisha Eskridge, a veteran police officer, bravely ran towards the sound of gunshots to rescue a baby during a deadly ambush. However, her heroic act has left her facing a daunting financial situation, which is unfortunately common for injured city employees. Even after 19 months, her injuries have not fully healed and an independent medical examiner has determined that they likely never will. This means that Eskridge, who took multiple gunshot wounds to her arm, hip, and foot, will never be able to work as an officer again.
The incident occurred on February 11, 2022, when officers were called to a home in south Phoenix with little information about the situation inside. It was later revealed that a man had shot and killed the mother of his child in the house. When the first officers arrived, the suspect shot at them, but allowed another man inside the house to bring a one-month-old infant outside. Eskridge, showing incredible bravery, rushed forward to take the baby from the man, shouting to her fellow officers. Unfortunately, the suspect opened fire again, injuring nine officers in total. Eskridge was hit in the hip, arm, and foot. When the police eventually entered the house, they found the suspect deceased alongside the infant’s mother.
Trisha Eskridge had served the Phoenix police department for 22 years, having joined after her time in the United States Army. She could have retired after 20 years, but due to staffing shortages, she agreed to stay on and enter the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) offered by the state. The shooting occurred two years after she could have retired. Despite her heroism being recognized nationwide, with awards such as the city’s “Act of Valor” and being named a Top Cop in 2023, her sisters are concerned about her recovery and the financial burden caused by her inability to work.
During the first year after her injuries, worker’s compensation covered 66% of Eskridge’s salary. The City of Phoenix also offers an additional benefit to cover the gap and pay 100% of an injured officer’s salary while they are unable to work, but this benefit only lasts for one year. After that, injured workers can use vacation, sick leave, or comp time to supplement their standard workers’ comp benefits. They can also file for long-term disability.
When Eskridge’s supplemental benefit expired in February, she filed for disability retirement. However, she is still awaiting a final decision. Her sisters expressed frustration at the situation, stating that she is not asking for special treatment but simply to be taken care of. They question why anyone would want to be a police officer in Phoenix if this is how injured officers are treated.
On August 1, the Phoenix Police Pension Board met to discuss Eskridge’s case. The board is not only deciding whether to approve her claim, but also considering whether to grant accidental disability or catastrophic disability. The payouts for these two categories differ significantly, with accidental disability covering half of her salary and catastrophic disability paying 90% for the first five years. The board rarely sees cases of “catastrophic” disability and opted to delay the decision on Eskridge’s case. Another meeting has been scheduled for August 8 to determine her fate.
Despite the challenges she faces, Eskridge’s sisters believe that she would make the same courageous choice to save a baby all over again. They are proud of her and are now seeking help for her..