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Former St. Petersburg detective sues over denied PTSD-related disability benefits

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After a nearly 20-year career with the St. Petersburg Police Department, former undercover narcotics detective John Moseley says he now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.

Unfortunately for the now 48-year-old Moseley, the SPPD is saying the issue should have been mentioned earlier.

Moseley, who worked for the department from 1992 to 2011, is suing the city of St. Petersburg’s board of trustees of the Supplemental Police Officers’ Retirement System for the disability benefits he contends he’s entitled.

According to the former officer of the year, he was suffering from nightmares, suicidal thoughts, and other psychological ailments by the time he resigned from St. Pete’s police force in December 2011.

Shortly after that, Moseley says he saw a video about PTSD and realized that his ailments were the result of on-the-job stressors, including “frequent” death threats to him and his family.

By March 2012, Moseley had begun the application process for disability benefits,  claiming he had suffered in the line of duty. Over three years went by before the board of the police retirement system in September 2015 concluded Moseley was too late to be given the disability benefits he sought. The board contended Moseley didn’t deserve them since he hadn’t applied for them by his resignation date from the SPPD, which is a requirement.

Moseley’s legal argument deals with the board’s narrow reading of the rules. He also says the reason he didn’t apply sooner was due to job-related “cognitive impairment.”

The ideal outcome for Moseley will be seeing the court vacate the board’s order, find that his application was timely, and order the board to reconsider his request for “total disability,” based on his merits as a detective.

According to a 2007 St. Petersburg Times article, Moseley’s nearly two-decade long career — most of which was in the vice and narcotics division of the investigative services bureau — included “work[ing] long hours on drug cases that [had the potential to] continue for several years.

The article also describes Moseley’s ability to “manage complex investigations involving drug investigators from federal, state and other local agencies” as his trademark talent as a detective.

In the past, Moseley has been recognized for his “exceptional work” by both the FBI and DEA.

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Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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