JIM SHARPE

The city of Phoenix — where loyalty runs in one direction

Aug 11, 2023, 12:00 PM

In the early morning hours of Feb. 11, 2022, less than two months after officer Tyler Moldovan was shot in the head in an ambush, then-Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams walked up to another mass of media microphones and announced that, this time, five Phoenix police officers were in the hospital recovering from an ambush.

At 2:10 a.m., 36-year-old Morris Jones called 911 claiming that his wife had been shot by intruders when, actually, Jones was the one who had shot (and killed) his ex-girlfriend — the mother of his baby. 

As the initial responding officer approached Jones’ apartment, Jones shot him multiple times.

Even though Jones had already ambushed one officer, the officers who responded to that officer’s distress call seized upon an opportunity to save a tiny life when Jones’ baby was placed outside the front door of his apartment in a carrier.

It was another ambush.

Jones opened fire, once again, as officers approached and ran with the baby — striking more officers.

One of the officers shot in that part of the ambush was Trisha Eskridge — shot by Jones while carrying his baby to safety.

Due to being shot in the arm, hip and foot, Eskridge has been unable to return to work. And yet, as 12 News has reported, the city of Phoenix Pension Board has determined that she does not have “catastrophic” injuries.

They, instead, approved an accidental disability claim this week — which will mean a whole lot less money than the catastrophic designation would’ve meant for this single mom of four kids. A woman who served as a Phoenix officer — quite obviously, in a brave fashion — for 22 years. 

Eskridge decided to apply for disability retirement after she lost a third of her pay when, under city policy, Phoenix stopped supplementing her workers’ compensation.

A doctor hired by the city deemed her unable to return to police work, saying Eskridge can’t lift more than ten pounds with her left arm, can’t rotate her forearm, and can’t walk long distances.

It can’t be as devastating as being shot by somebody whose baby you’re carrying — but it has to be devastating to find out that the city you served with such loyalty doesn’t feel the same: Her accidental disability designation means Eskridge will be receiving just a little more than half of what she would’ve gotten with the catastrophic designation.

Personally, I think the case of Eskridge will have a “catastrophic” effect on recruiting for the Phoenix Police Department — which, at last count, was short 560 officers.

Uh, make that 561.

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Jim Sharpe

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The city of Phoenix — where loyalty runs in one direction