One can only imagine the long-lasting emotional trauma felt by the first responders to last month’s elementary school tragedy. Newtown’s police officers are currently seeking legislation that will provide them with much-needed support after their service during the tragedy.
According to the Hartford Courant, this includes leaves of absence that would allow at least six months with at least two-thirds of their pay. The town and police union are currently in negotiations to make the change. They want to make sure that, if officers need to take time off from work, there’s money available to continue their paychecks. The existing system in Newtown would only allow the officers 10 sick days before they have to start using vacation time.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, has also become a huge issue for Newtown’s first responders. PTSD is a condition that stems from exposure to traumatic events. Currently, the town insurance does not recognize PTSD as a reason to go out on disability.
Joel Faxon, a Newtown Board of Police commissioner, said, “There’s a void in workers’ comp laws relative to emotional injury. We feel it’s important – and I feel personally – that the law is changed to address the problems that these first responders and others will encounter and have encountered.”