Town, Police Union Agree On Deal to Help Newtown First Responders

Jan 16, 2013

More than a dozen police officers in Newtown haven't returned to work since the day they responded to a mass shooting inside an elementary school. Twenty children and six adults were killed.

The town and the police union have worked out a deal to compensate these officers as they recover but their efforts don't stop there. Fifteen police officers for the Newtown police department have missed work since witnessing the traumatic scenes inside Sandy Hook Elementary School one month ago. Eric Brown is an attorney for the Connecticut Council of Police Unions which includes Newtown officers. He says since that tragic day, the town has been working with the union to figure out how to help their first responders. He says that's because the state's workers compensation law doesn't cover missing work for emotional trauma or stress on the job.  "What we came up with was they would get 66 2/3 percent provided by the town and they can use 1/3 of a sick day to make up the difference so they'd get 100 percent. Once their sick days are up then the town will pay them at 66 and 2/3 percent." But that's only for six months. Brown says that's why the police union is lobbying Connecticut legislators for a change in the state's workers compensation law to help all public safety professional who respond to traumatic events. "While we appreciate getting the twenty-six weeks now.  We believe that some officers may have events that arise three, four, ten years from now that could require time off from work and we wanted to make sure they're covered, too."  Right now, there's proposed legislation by State Rep Stephen Dargan to extend workers compensation coverage for mental or emotional impairment to first responders diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. for wnpr, I'm Lucy Nalpathanchil