It’s undeniable that working for law enforcement is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. They are trained to prepare for the worst possible scenarios, but even still, sometimes the unthinkable can happen.
One such tragedy happened on January 2, 2021 when a veteran DeKalb County police sergeant was struck by a vehicle and killed on the Downtown Connector.
Around 9 a.m. that morning, Sgt. Daniel Mobley was responding to a crash involving another officer near the Williams Street exit. While working the scene, he was hit by a car and rushed immediately to Grady Memorial Hospital. Tragically, he was pronounced dead on arrival. Sgt. Mobley was only 44 years old.
“Today is a sad day as the DeKalb County Police Department lost one of its guardian angels,” Chief Mirtha Ramos told reporters that afternoon. “We will miss him dearly and our hearts go out to his family.”
Sgt. Mobley had barely arrived on the crash scene to begin a “supervisory investigation” when he was hit while getting out of his patrol car. The other officer in the initial crash was not injured.
“The entire Department of Public Safety sends their heartfelt prayers and sympathy to the family and colleagues of Sergeant Mobley,” the state agency posted.
Gov. Brian Kemp also expressed his sympathy:
“Heartbreaking news. Please join our family in praying for the friends and loved ones of Sergeant Mobley. May the Lord be a comfort to them and his fellow officers in this difficult time.”
Sgt. Mobley is remembered as an exemplary law enforcement officer and a devoted father. His coworkers also mentioned that Sgt. Mobley was a big Ford fan and enjoyed working on his cars during his free time.
He joined the police department in June 1998 and was regularly considered the officer-in-charge because of his work ethic, a police spokeswoman said. In December 2017, Mobley was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the agency’s North-Central Precinct.
Tragically, Sgt. Mobley was the 32nd DeKalb County police officer killed in the line of duty ever, and he was the second officer killed in the U.S. since the new year. In 2020, Georgia lost 7 officers in the line of duty, according to the Officers Down Memorial Page.
The Georgia State Patrol headed up the investigation of the wreck that killed Sgt. Mobley, which shut down the southbound lanes of the Downtown Connector for about 4 hours. The initial crash involved 3 vehicles, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Mobley was among at least 9 people killed on Georgia roads since New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m., according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Chief Ramos described Sgt. Mobley as a well-respected supervisor who was adored by his colleagues. Off-duty officers rushed to the hospital upon hearing the news of Mobley’s untimely death.
“The law enforcement community as a whole is hurting,” she said. “When you have officers flying into the hospital — not even in uniform because it’s their day off — to show their respects, that means he earned that respect.”
In a statement released that evening, DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond called Sgt. Mobley’s death a tragic reminder that frontline public safety employees place themselves at risk every time they go to work.
“On behalf of the residents and employees of DeKalb County and the Board of Commissioners, I express our deepest sympathy and offer our prayers to the family and friends of police Sgt. Daniel Mobley who gave his life in the line of duty this morning,” Thurmond said.
Workers’ compensation for police officers
When tragedy does strike for officers on the job, what are their options for compensation in Georgia? What “death benefits” are available to their families if the worst should happen?
Workers’ compensation benefits for law enforcement officers cover the costs related to the work-based injury, as well as coverage for lost wages and disability benefits (if the officer cannot return to work or is placed on restricted duty). Workers’ comp also allows for survivor benefits in case an officer is killed on-duty.
When it comes to occupational illnesses, it typically falls on the employer (or the local, state or federal government in the case of law enforcement officers) and its insurance company to prove that the disease isn’t related to the officer’s employment. Officers could also be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries incurred during training or off-duty.