Injured West Seattle officer facing loss of medical benefits

We’d received a tip on this but hit a roadblock early on; Channel 4, however, got the story, and it’s an important one. You may remember Southwest Precinct Officer Jason McKissack, badly beaten while answering a call in High Point in 2008. We first reported the attack that June; later that month, a West Seattle community groundswell of support sent him get-well wishes. Then, one year after the attack, we were in the courtroom last June as his attackers were sentenced in an emotional hearing – no additional detention. Tonight, Channel 4 reported that doctors say Officer McKissack will never be able to go back to work; because of that, the station says, he is losing his medical benefits – apparently because of a state law that the Seattle Police Guild and some legislators are trying to change. Here’s the story they aired tonight:

The KOMO story points to the bill that’s just been reintroduced in the Legislature, where it stalled last year (see it here); it would fix the law so that public-safety personnel like Officer McKissack who suffer “catastrophic disabilities” will not lose their medical benefits. (Thanks to Robert and Shelley for tonight’s notes pointing us to this story.)

ADDED 7:06 PM SATURDAY: There’s now a fund set up:

Donations can be sent to:
2949 4th Ave South
Seattle, WA 98134
Subject line: Jason McKissack

Also please see the comments following this story for our discussion about how to reach legislators regarding the aforementioned bill.

27 Replies to "Injured West Seattle officer facing loss of medical benefits"

  • clark5080 January 15, 2010 (11:12 pm)

    What a travesty he should be taken care of.


  • karlyross January 15, 2010 (11:19 pm)

    What is happening in this country that we can’t take care of those whose livlihood is destroyed serving us? A police officer who is injured beyond employment on the job should be taken care of. Period. Just as a soldier who is disabled serving his or her country should be taken care of. Period.

  • celeste17 January 15, 2010 (11:25 pm)

    This is wrong. He was on the job when this happened. As he said if he had died they would be taken care of for life. We need to take care of him and all the police officers.

    I am going to contact my representatives in the house and get them to pass the bill.

  • inhonorofthefallen January 15, 2010 (11:31 pm)

    Thank you for posting. It is so wrong that his family would receive the benefits only if he died. Yet his career was ‘killed’ with kicks to the head in the line of duty. What about L&I SPD?This could have happened to any one of us. He was doing his job serving our community. It is more sickening to me that that judge let those violent offenders go in a such a manner when he was trying to help on of them. What a message to others, come close to killing a police officer and you get a slap on the wrist. But the officer has a lifetime of brain damage, depression, stress, anxiety and poverty. Insurance companies are going down – its time this treatment of public servants (and citizens in general) stops. This type of injustice affects us all.

  • Allison January 16, 2010 (12:11 am)

    As should all Americans.

  • miws January 16, 2010 (7:15 am)

    I saw this story on KOMO last night, and found it shocking and thoroughly disgusting.


    The maddening irony of it is, if these punks had actually gone to prison for this, as they should have, they would be getting free (to them, not us) medical care. Including ongoing care, during their incarceration, had they suffered injuries similar to Officer McKissack’s, during a prison fight that they instigated.



  • Julie January 16, 2010 (8:06 am)

    What can we do to help? Where is this in Legislation now? Who do we contact to send messages of support?

    • WSB January 16, 2010 (8:54 am)

      Julie, if you follow the link in the story, it shows the legislation’s status (the link that is with the words “see it here”). It’s been referred to the Ways and Means Committee in the state House. The committee’s member list is here:
      I see that West Seattle’s Rep. EIleen Cody is on the committee. Her contact info:
      I will contact her to ask the question of how people can show support for a bill. In the meantime, you certainly could send a message to everyone on the committee urging them to approve it.

  • WSMOM January 16, 2010 (8:43 am)

    horrible! well said karlyross

  • RainyDay January 16, 2010 (8:57 am)

    Sad but true. My Dad is a retired Seattle Firefighter. He was injured about 20 years ago on the job after 17 years of duty and he is covered for life – but my Mom is not. She is 63 years old now – and working PT as a nurse just to cover her medical expenses. A grandmother and mother of 6 with ongoing medical issues has to work…so sad.

  • renaissancered January 16, 2010 (8:59 am)

    NO NO NO! this is NOT how it’s supposed to be. This man was put in harm’s way during the course of his job as a public servant. It’s now our turn to take care of him. I thought the Police took care of their own, what happened to that?
    It just seems so skewed that he is losing the benefits that will help take care of him. Just makes me ill to think we let this officer down, so we only support healthy people…huh?

  • Alki Area January 16, 2010 (11:18 am)

    Thank god we don’t have universal health care like the satanic evil devil worshiping Canadians…because it’s ruined their country! Oh wait, it hasn’t, they’re doing just fine. ARGH!

  • old timer January 16, 2010 (11:24 am)

    Thanks WSB for the links to legislation.
    I was able to e-mail my support for this needed fix to an intolerable situation.
    Is there a fund for ongoing community contributions to this family?

    • WSB January 16, 2010 (11:27 am)

      If nobody else pipes in with the answer to that … The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild is who I had inquired with, and had not heard back from, before this story appeared. Maybe I’ll have better luck on another try, and will ask that question specifically.

  • Fixxer upper January 16, 2010 (11:49 am)

    SPD is working to set up a fund and the information will be published when it happens. In the meantime, check the Seattle Police Guild website ( for updates.

    Most importantly, contact your elected officials. We can get this done this session!

  • Cheryl January 16, 2010 (12:27 pm)

    This is BEYOND inexcusable! I really hope that folks will call their legislators, and I also hope that there will be a fund that we (Seattle) can contribute to.

  • Incognito January 16, 2010 (2:49 pm)

    I was a former SHA-contracted security officer serving multiple communities, including High Point, and I left shortly before this incident took place. At that time, residents were quick to contact security prior to the police as we were on-site and obligated to respond immediately – I find myself thinking that this could’ve very easily been me; it could’ve been my family suffering from my inability to work and having the burden of looking after me.
    Based on the location where the incident occurred along with the ages and actions of those involved, I’m reasonably certain I know who these kids were. We’ve had multiple documented incidents at that residence, including a SPD “fastback” response when a domestic got out of hand.
    To no fault of the SHA (who are bound by countless laws as a public entity, and they really do put forth an effort), I am astounded that it is so difficult to evict troublemakers in public housing that is paid for by my tax dollars. They should’ve been out long ago after the first few incidents, and this would’ve never happened.
    The punishments handed down were sickening – community service and time served (a few months). How did that happen, with the permanent disability of Ofc. McKissack being the result? I’m sure if they were tried today (since our recent area law enforcement tragedies), this would not be the case.
    I fully support HB 1679, and hope they somehow are able to make this retroactive.

  • d January 16, 2010 (3:12 pm)

    I too will be calling Rep. Cody this week.

    This is unacceptable.

  • Ripper January 16, 2010 (6:18 pm)

    Does anyone know if the piece of s**t perpetrators were kicked out of the public housing?

  • David January 16, 2010 (6:47 pm)

    That makes perfect sense. Our government needs to save its money so that it bailout more banking executives.

  • WSB January 16, 2010 (7:04 pm)

    Just got this info from Renee Maher, widow of Federal Way Officer Patrick Maher, who now works as an advocate. A fund is now set up for Officer McKissack. I will post a separate item soon but in the short run:
    Donations can be sent to:
    2949 4th Ave South
    Seattle, WA 98134
    Subject line: Jason McKissack

  • Leroniusmonkfish January 16, 2010 (7:44 pm)

    These kids showed no remorse. Why aren’t their parents being held responsible?

  • 4McKissack January 16, 2010 (8:53 pm)

    I know West Seattle is fundraising for many things right now (what a great community!), but possibly we can all remember this and think up a way to honor his service to our community with a fundraiser too. Any ideas?

  • rob January 17, 2010 (8:50 am)

    The original law was agreed to by the Police guild. The officer knew that when he was hired. It’s terrible, however if wounded soldiers come back from war with little or no benefits, after putting their lives on the line, why should a police officer get anymore special attention? If the officer was hurt, he should file a civil suit against those that committed the crime.
    A policeman is no higher caste than the person that made his uniform or weapon.

  • ltfd January 17, 2010 (11:17 am)

    rob- “The original law was agreed to by the Police Guild” is not a true statement. The Washington State Legislature enacts the rules for the LEOFF (Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters)Retirement System- the Legislature doesn’t need any labor organizations approval to make those rules.

    Until 1977, under LEOFF I, members received medical coverage for disabilities incurred on the job. Under LEOFF II, fire fighters and police who receive career-ending, permanent injuries, don’t have medical coverage when they can no longer work. This is happening to Officer Jason McKissack, as it happened to Mark Jones, a Seattle Fire Fighter who fell two stories down a pole hole (fracturing his ribs, pelvis, & extremities, and damaging internal organs).

    There is no medical coverage in Washington State for police and fire fighters who can no longer work following an on-duty injury. Until 1977 there was. This is a situation that the State Legislature can change- make the retirement system cover catastrophic injuries.

  • Fixxer upper January 17, 2010 (2:40 pm)

    ltfd is exactly right. It’s easy to make assumptions about how law enforcement and firefighters are “taken care of” especially when you see the outpouring of emotion during a line of duty funeral.

    But Mark Jones and Jason McKissack didn’t die. And the sad truth is that their families, financially, are better off if they’d died instead of just got hurt. Over time, legislation has increased the benefits for the families of fallen firefighters and law enforcement officers. Benefits for the disabled ones, the ones who truly earned and need them, have been slower to happen.

    HB 1679 is one small step to help rectify that.

  • Bruce W January 19, 2010 (10:11 am)

    Then when you are the victim of any crime, including assult with someone is kicking you in the head…please do NOT call a policeman. Call the person that made his uniform. See how that works out for ya.

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