Wounded Officer Pleads For Better Disability Coverage

SALISBURY — A month after being wounded in the line of duty, a Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputy appealed to the County Council this week to find a way to grant officers better disability coverage.

Deputy First Class Thomas Funk addressed the council Tuesday on what he perceives as a serious lack of protection for Sheriff’s Department officers disabled in the line of duty.

Shot while serving a warrant last February, Funk told the council the thought most predominant in his mind after the incident was not whether or not he would be okay, but what would happen to his family if he was too hurt to return to work.

“On the morning of Feb. 29, I faced a man who shot and attempted to kill me … My biggest fear after being shot, bleeding in the back of an ambulance, was losing my home where I live with my wife and daughter,” Funk told the council.

While Funk eventually recovered from the shooting and was able to return to duty, he said the experience left him “appalled” by how little the county offers to officers disabled in the line of duty and that it is “inexcusable” for the deficiency to continue.

“We are your constituents and we deserve better,” he told the council.
Wicomico Sheriff Mike Lewis lent his backing to Funk’s argument.
“I do fully support a disability package,” he said.

Lewis reminded the council that his deputies face life-threatening situations every day, risks that impact not only them but everyone that depends on them.

“When they go out that door, not only do they not know if they’re coming back, their families don’t know either,” Lewis said.

Lewis pointed out that Wicomico does not offer the same disability package that either Salisbury or the Maryland State Police do, where an injured officer will receive the majority of their salary for the rest of their life if hurt in the line of duty.

“All we ask is that we are looked out for,” said Lewis.

Funk agreed and stressed that all he and other Wicomico officers wanted was for the county to fall in line with the state with disability and pensions.

“Please remember that what we are asking for is not outrageous,” he said.
The council did not make any comments on the request during the meeting.