Letter from Mark Kelly…

Hello,

 

My name is Mark Kelly. I have been a police officer city of Mesa for four years. I have been working for the city of Mesa for five years. Nine months ago I was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. My doctors have given me 2-5 years to live. The city of Mesa decided I was a “liability to the city” and told me I was no longer able to fulfill my duties as a police officer and would therefore have to retire. I am 30 years old, I have been married for 10 years to my beautiful wife Elizabeth, and we have four precious boys. We recently found out my wife is expecting a baby girl in June. The city of Mesa is forcing me to retire. How can my family survive on a $10,000 police pension?

 

We will lose everything, house, car, everything we have payments on. We will be forced to move in with relatives to fully support us. The city told me when my vacation, sick, and compensation time were depleted I would be forced to retire. I do not believe I am being treated very fairly in the city of Mesa should take better care of their employees. Exceptions need to be made, policies need to be written in order to protect police officers and their families.

 

I want to be clear that I am not upset with Chief Meza or the Mesa Police Department. The men and women of the Mesa Police Department have been my strongest supporters since the beginning of all this. The Mesa Police Department raised over $30,000.00 on my behalf, raised money for a wheelchair van, and are now in the process of raising money for my specialized wheelchair. I want to express my love and appreciation to my fellow officers on the department. I want the public to be perfectly clear that the city of Mesa is doing this to me, not the Mesa Police Department. I am proud to be a Mesa Police officer and honor the men and women I work with. Right now, men and women of the Mesa Police Department and the city employees are donating their personal vacation time and compensation time to keep me employed as a police officer, because they do not agree with the city of Mesa’s decision.

 

I want to state the simple facts in my case and they are:

 

1. Once I was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and they saw that my body was starting to deteriorate, the City of Mesa began the process of my forced retirement.

 

2. I can still perform the duties of a “station officer”. I can type 2-3 reports every day, monitor calls for service and clear non-paper calls to help patrol at Red Mountain. I can do the duties of a detective by reading reports, establishing probable cause, making phone calls, and typing reports. I know I can still perform the duties as a station officer.

 

3. If I am forced to retire, my family will get around $10,000 annually from my police pension, which is not enough to provide basic needs for my family of six. Food, clothing and shelter.

It will force my wife, who is 16 weeks pregnant, to leave me and our four young boys to work outside the home. She is my full-time caregiver and has enough on her plate already. We will lose our house, and everything we make payments on and have to move in with family to support us. I would have to move in with my parents. My father is a plastering contractor and has not had any work for six months. He is living off the money he saved during better years.

 

4.  Other cities that have had people in my situation have taken care of their employees and their families in the event of their death. They also kept them working, even from home, and made it possible for them to earn a full paycheck for their families.

 

5.  If the city keeps me employed as a police officer and I pass away my family would get around $30,000 annually from the police pension, which would be enough to provide my family with basic needs.

 

6. The department needs to create a position or positions for officers like me, who can still investigate, read reports, write reports, and help the department with the skills they taught me.

So my situation never happens to another Mesa officer again. Phoenix police department takes care of their own and bypasses the city.

 

7. I am not doing this for myself.  I am doing it for my family financially, in the event of my death. And secondly, I am doing this for future Mesa Police officers who find themselves in a medical situation like mine.

 

See Mark’s interview with KPHO: http://www.kpho.com/video/22278447/

See Mark’s interview with ABC15: http://www.abc15.com/content/news/southeastvalley/mesa/story/Mesa-officer-with-Lou-Gehrig-s-disease-gets-to/5jBpOKKexE-FYn3qZnsDeQ.cspx

 

From Mark’s mom:

The Michael Kelly Family and all of our family throughout the country, would like to send a heartfelt Thank you to all who took part in Officer Mark Kelly keeping his job as a Mesa Police Officer.  When I asked Mark where to start, he named the Fraternal Order of Police, The Mesa Police Association, his Sergeant Tony Landato, and the list of individuals was long after that.

I do not know if it is appropriate to list all the people, because surely names will be left out.  They know who they are, and words cannot express our appreciation to those who stood boldly in Officer Kelly’s behalf.

 

The two Police Unions have been so generous to Officer Kelly with their phone calls, fund raising efforts and support.  Everyone stepped up to the plate for one of their fellow officers.  Please know that our hearts are touched more than we can express. 

 

All our love and appreciation,  Carla Kelly –  Proud Mother of a Mesa Police Officer