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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

Stephen Ross October 09, 2012 at 06:35 PM
A Law Enforcement Officer - Not just a Police Officer - is "literally" on duty from the moment they take their oath, until they retire and/or are laid to rest. Even if vacationing out of their community, and a situation develops; be it a criminal act, an automobile accident or a fire, they are expected to respond, per their oath. In that light, the widow is entitled to benefits.
Concerned Citizen October 09, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Classic Straw Man argument Dennis. Plumber's don't risk their life for the protection of others, and they know that when they undertake the job. A Cop on the other hand, is a Cop 24/7, knowing full well they may die, so the benefit is given should an injury or death occur. Dennis, you do realize that the Officer was being paid a Full Salary from the county due to an On-The-Job injury? So if he's getting paid a Full wage, how exactly was he NOT a cop, other than healing from an injury? And had he survived the tragic shooting, he more than likely would have been Retired out on his Medical Leave entitling him & his wife to the same exact benefit his wife is requesting?
Ptown October 09, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Agree Betty, this "poll" should be taken down. Let the governing councils take care of this in private.
Jim Pera October 09, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I'm a retired cop and a taxpayer. I don't mind my tax's going to support the widow of a slain deputy. The slain deputy, his widow and all the other cops and their families who face the tragedy of "in the line of duty death" everyday are taxpayers. ...and for your information this is a line of duty death. Cops are sworn to uphold the laws 24/7 whether on or off the clock.
Active Thinker October 09, 2012 at 07:42 PM
That's what they are doing I believe.
John Stewert October 09, 2012 at 08:32 PM
That guy was OFF Duty, hes no different than any other Hero. Hell No she should not get Benefits. Peace Officers my behind, the only people who have ever beat me up, pointed a Gun at me are the Police. He can't be Special Hero just because hes OFF Duty.
Betty Harrison October 09, 2012 at 09:13 PM
John, it's inappropriate to curse the dead, no matter your experience... you are free to curse anyone living, though. It's you're right as an American.
Active Thinker October 09, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Really? The only time you have gotten beat up is by the police? He was and is a hero...let his wife get all she can!
Concerned Citizen October 09, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Oh...like we should take any credence in what a common criminal or thug espouses? With your abhorrent lack of grammar, punctuation and intelligent input on this story, I can see you have much bigger problems in life leading to your bitterness. But the next time you attempt to get a point across about a slain officer and hero of our community, at least have someone who is properly educated type it out for you.
John Stewert October 09, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I didn't curse the officer. I just said his wife shouldn't get benefits if he was off duty. If the mail man is hero but is not working at the time he is killed, he won't get benefits. Oh and by the way Concerned Citizen, I'm a Physicist with an IQ of 140. Language Arts was never my thing.
John Stewert October 09, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Just because your the police dose not make you a good person. No one knows that better than I do. Yes, this man is a Hero and I'm sorry for his wife's loss but if he was off Duty his wife shouldn't get benefits.
AyurvedicMama October 09, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Your IQ has nothing to do with a grieving wife, family and community. Once an officer is sworn in, they are on duty. Comparing an officer to a plumber or mailman just does not have the same effect and really is apples to oranges. I think we should commend this wife for respecting her husband's desire to serve and protect... What about the off duty doctor, paramedic, fireman, etc? I can give you another scenario that happened not that long ago. When I was about 5 months pregnant I was the passenger in my Jeep (daughter was in the backseat) when a car start ramming us from behind, after running several other cars off the road. Finally they locked bumpers with us and pushed us into the center divide. I couldn't get out of the car as I was having some abdominal pain (fortunately was fine as was everyone else in my car). At that time my husband jumped out to check on the driver who hit us, as her truck was smoking and she was not moving (husband was a police officer at the time). An off duty paramedic saw what happened and also stopped after calling 911. They had to break this woman's window and pull her out as she had been having a seizure while driving. This paramedic risked his life by breaking into a smoking vehicle on the middle of the freeway. Had he been hit, would we suggest benefits not be given to his family? I hope not. Again, apples to oranges but important to remember that there is a moral duty to help.
Concerned Citizen October 09, 2012 at 11:02 PM
You expect us to believe that a guy who been stoned for over 20+ years (your words in a recent post, not mine), that you have any IQ left to deal with....LOL And then you patronize us with your comments that you're "sorry"? No way.......
John Stewert October 09, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Concerned Citizen your a loof/stupid person if you think marijuana affects your IQ. Some of the smartest people in the world burn and besides if your 21 and want to do drugs you should be allowed to. The USA locks up more of its own citizens then any other country on earth...Land of the Free, Home of the Imprisoned! The biggest voter suppression in our country is called Drug War. I bet your one of those Republican Communists. Your what I call an 88.
John Stewert October 09, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Besides I've got a Dr Rec for my weed. I smoke for insomnia because man made ambien kills people and marijuana hasn't killed anyone in 5000 years!
Concerned Citizen October 10, 2012 at 12:45 AM
"John Stewart doth protest too much, methinks." You're nothing but a Troll.
John Stewert October 10, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Concerned Citizen = A Real Stupid/Ignorant Person with OLD Ideas that are on there way out...I might be a Troll but your a Toad. Mr.88
Concerned Citizen October 10, 2012 at 02:56 AM
And just like a typical drug addict, you turn what is a story about a tragic death of a Police Officer, and a wife who deserve's the officer's benefits into an "All about John" comentary. It's laughable. When the Retirement Board meets, they will approve the Officer's benefit to his wife because they still have a majority vote of 5, so it will be over. Your idiotic comments in the beginning of this thread, combined with admitting you're a criminal and dope smoker simply prove you lack the acumen to even discuss this topic to any thoughtful conclusion. You can't even string together coherent thoughts, as in one sentence you state "just because you are the police doesn't make yo a good person", yet you then say the slain officer is a "Hero". Light up dude.......you need it.
John Stewert October 10, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Concerned Citizen - I'm entitled to my opinion just like anyone else and you said something to me first STUPID. Your a Stupid DRUNK I can tell. I only use marijuana that a doctor gave me a rec for. I don't use anything else, not even aspirin. Only the medicine GOD put on this earth for me. Go have another drink Drunk.
Concerned Citizen October 10, 2012 at 06:23 AM
LOL. You admit to being arrested, smoking dope for over 20 years (and Medical Marijuana Cards have NOT been around for 20 years. They've been valid only since 01/01/2004), and think you have ANY credibility? And if I'm a Drunk, why is it that I can articulate a sentence far better than you? Oh yeah..because you are high! Look, other's besides me have questioned your idiotic stance in this thread, and you prove over and over how being a Pot Head and common criminal leads to such boorish commentary from what little functioning brain cells are left in your head.
John Stewert October 10, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Concerned Citizen - Leave me alone
Concerned Citizen October 10, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Why? So you can spew your malicious commentary about our Law Enforcement community with wreckless abandon? Remember, you're the person who has claimed that the "Police" are the only people who have "beat you up", trying to connect your arrest to why a grieving Widow should not receive her husbands Retirement Benefit. No, you leave me alone. And since your posts reveal your disdain of our law enforcement community and drug laws, perhaps you should move to another country while you're at it.
John Stewert October 10, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Concerned Citizen - In 2004 I was fighting for your Freedom in Operation Iraqi Freedom. My grandpas both saw action in WWII. I'm as American as they come. All I meant was If the Officer was off Duty his wife should not receive Benefits. Just my opinion. This is my Country, I damn sure am not going to leave it. I'm going to ask you 1 more time. Please Leave Me Alone. Thank You
Nanette October 10, 2012 at 09:55 PM
He was not on duty, was on leave, had apparently been drinking. We really need to be practical here. It's tragic but where do we draw the line? She should not get his pension.
Concerned Citizen October 10, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I know you're not being truthful abut your service, because you've claimed in other Patch Posts to have been smoking Dope for 20 years.You'd NEVER pass the Urine Screen to serve out country. In addition, you've stated your disdain regarding U.S. drug laws (the kind Officer Mathiesen was charged to enforce) and question our "Freedom" in the U.S. You'll stoop to any level of abhorrent behavior to defend what you really are; A common criminal. NO...you go away Please! Leave those of us who believe in what officer Mathiesen stood for alone!
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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