"currently the department has nine officers out on short-term disability. That means, including the management staff, almost 20 percent of the normal staff are unavailable. The department averages between 3 and 5 officers out on short-term disability so this is an unusual situation."
No rocket science here. While on disability the CA tax code makes 100% of their income fully tax free. Most departments do not require the officers to use personal sick time for this so the tax free income is virtually unlimited. If they can scam this into a disability retirement then their income will be tax free for life. And remember, their retirement income will be 90% of the final highest year of pay if they have worked 30 years and are 50 years old. That tax free pension will increase every year and will most likely include free medical benefits for life.
Lest you feel sorry for the poor injured officers, once that disability retirement is locked in by the hearing, it can NEVER be challenged. Remarkable numbers of previously "disabled" public safety officers make miraculous recoveries as soon as the disability is granted.
And you -- the sucker taxpayer -- will pay for that pension for as long as they live.