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Should Slain Deputy's Wife Collect "Service-Connected" Benefits?

The widow of off-duty Marin County Sheriff's deputy killed in Petaluma last year says she deserves full benefits because her husband responded in his capacity as an officer. Others say he was off-duty and went there on his own accord.

Marin County Sheriff’s deputy Jim Mathiesen was killed last July when he went to the Petaluma home of a friend who was having trouble with an ex-boyfriend.

Mathiesen wasn’t on the clock, had alcohol in his system and didn’t follow protocol by calling for backup.

But his widow says she deserves “service-connected” survivor benefits, which total $50,000 a year tax-free, instead of the $16,000 taxable survivor’s pension she now receives, according to an article in Monday’s Marin Independent Journal.

Last month, a Marin County pension panel voted 5-2 to approve the service-connected pension. But because two members were absent, the panel will again gather and vote this Wednesday in an attempt to determine a fair payment for the widow.

Mathiesen was killed July 19, 2011 when he responded to the Liberty Road home of a friend who was being threatened by an ex-boyfriend.

The suspect, 28-year-old Novato resident Thomas Halloran, appeared at the home and killed the deputy, but was then shot to death by the woman's brother.

But according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, Mathiesen was not only off-duty at the time of his accident, but on paid leave due to an injury, and had been informed that he could not perform the duties of a deputy sheriff until he obtained medical clearance.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below

Concerned Citizen October 10, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Being "on-duty" has nothing to do with it. He was Injured on the job, forcing him to be home to recover. And since when is an alcohol level under 0.08 a crime..? Nowhere is there evidence that the officer has more than a beer or glass of wine. Do you know how many Off-Duty officer's drink a glass of wine or glass of beer yet get thrust into mitigating a crime because their department requires them to carry a weapon 24/7 to uphold the law? This guy gave up his physical being to protect a neighbor. That neighbor knew that a 911 call and response would take minutes for a unit to arrive in an unincorporated area of the county, so the neighbor called Officer Mathiesen, who was right next door to help... because he is a Police Officer. The facts are clear. The public jealousy over a wife receiving a benefit that her husband paid for via his paycheck contribution ever two weeks (his retirement) and earned by giving his life is quite saddening.
John Stewert October 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Concerned Citizen - Most all of us smoked in the military. Marijuana stores in fat cells but if your in great shape as I was its gone in 3 days. Boy your really out of touch.
John Stewert October 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM
This is all I was ever trying to say.
Joel Cairo October 11, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Sorry John. Marijuana stays in your system for up to six months, I think you are in a drug induced cloud
ROCKER October 17, 2012 at 04:30 AM
From what I understand Deputy Mathiesen wanted a divorce but there were problems with splitting up the 6 homes they own. I wonder what he would of wanted in this case.

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