The former UC Berkeley police officer whose intuition aided the rescue of kidnap victim Jaycee Dugard is suing the University of California for being denied permission to carry a concealed firearm due to her medical disability status.
Allison Jacobs, along with Federated University Police Officers Association, the UC Police Officers’ union, filed a lawsuit against the University of California, the UC Board of Regents and UCPD on March 28. The suit argues Jacobs should be eligible to carry a concealed firearm, like many retired peace officers. The university does not consider UC police officers receiving disability income as a result of an impairment sustained on duty as retired.
Karen Alberts, a former UCPD officer who was similarly denied a concealed firearm permit, filed a lawsuit in 2012 arguing that UCPD disability is the functional equivalent of retirement. But the Alameda County Superior Court ruled that a former UCPD officer is not considered retired if he or she is continuing to receive disability income.
After the lawsuit, the university shifted its policy to prohibit peace officers who continue to receive disability benefits, despite being effectively retired, from being able to carry concealed firearms. The University of California Retirement Program is different from CalPERS, the state government’s retirement program, because it does not include a “disability retirement” status.
The university declined to comment, as the case was recently filed.
Jacobs was hailed as a national hero for her involvement in the rescue of Dugard, who was abducted from South Lake Tahoe in 1991.
A UCPD official was suspicious of Phillip Garrido, Dugard’s kidnapper, when he requested to hold a special event on campus in 2009 and alerted Jacobs. She ran a background check on Garrido and discovered he was on parole for kidnapping and rape convictions. After Jacobs notified Garrido’s parole officers, Dugard and her two daughters were rescued, and Garrido and his wife were arrested.
Jacobs has said her involvement in the Dugard case put her in the national spotlight — which could make her a target for criminals — despite no longer serving on active duty.
Michael Morguess, Jacobs’ attorney, said the university granted permits to those on disability retirement for several decades and added that this is an unprecedented issue with peace officer agencies in California.
“The university doesn’t believe they have to comply with state law because of wording in their retirement policy,” Morguess said. “Ultimately, the goal is to get these officers to get disability retirement and the concealed firearms permits that they’re entitled to under state law.”