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Federal government denies death benefit for Oklahoma City police recruit

Kelley Chase, a father of two young children, was on his way to become an Oklahoma City police officer when he died after a training accident.
by William Crum Modified: November 29, 2013 at 7:33 pm •  Published: November 30, 2013
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/articleid/3909093/1/pictures/2263859">Photo - Elke Meeus received her late husband's police badge from Police Chief Bill Citty in a ceremony on Dec. 6, 2012. Her husband, police recruit Kelley Chase, died after a training accident. File photo By David McDaniel/The Oklahoman     loc-boxscoren11 <strong>David McDaniel - The Oklahoman</strong>
Elke Meeus received her late husband's police badge from Police Chief Bill Citty in a ceremony on Dec. 6, 2012. Her husband, police recruit Kelley Chase, died after a training accident. File photo By David McDaniel/The Oklahoman loc-boxscoren11 David McDaniel - The Oklahoman

“Common sense says it's a line-of-duty death and the claim should be paid,” he said.

Chase hit his head during an exercise in which recruits are tested on their ability to defend themselves in a fight. An autopsy showed he died of head injuries.

Afterward, Chief Bill Citty said head gear would be worn by all police recruits during future self-defense classes.

“We won't do any more defense training without it,” the police chief said.

The city's spokeswoman, Kristy Yager, said Oklahoma City expects a quick resolution to the life insurance dispute.

The city's attorneys have been in contact with the attorney for Meeus “and discussions are progressing well,” Yager said.

In her claim against the city, Meeus said she and her children were improperly denied $41,000 in insurance benefits.

She said her husband opted for $122,000 worth of supplemental life insurance coverage — three times his annual salary — when he joined his recruit class in May 2012.

Incomplete coverage

The insurance company only agreed to pay $81,000, double Chase's salary.

Meeus said paperwork was mishandled by the city or the insurance company.

The Fraternal Order of Police retained attorney James Moore to help Meeus with her claim.

Chase would have become an FOP member upon graduation from the police academy.

by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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