Newtown seeks law change to aid first responders - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Newtown seeks law change to aid first responders

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NEWTOWN, CT (AP) -

Newtown's police commissioners want Connecticut law changed so officers and others who responded to last month's deadly school shooting are covered by workers' compensation.

A resolution passed Tuesday by the Newtown Board of Police Commissioners said "fairness and compassion dictates" the law be changed to provide appropriate benefits to those who suffered physical and emotional injury "as a consequence of their heroic efforts" on the job.

Scott Ruszczyk, the president of the police union, said after the meeting that 13 police officers have been directly affected by last month's shooting that left 20 students and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

The union has said some police officers who responded to the shooting were so traumatized they weren't working, but had to use sick time and risked going without a paycheck. Ruszczyk said police were using donations to police to cover salaries of those out of work.

In the past, advocates have pushed to change the statutes on workers' compensation, which include provisions for officers who suffer mental impairment as the result of using or being subjected to deadly force - but not for those who witness crime scenes with mass casualties.

Concerns about the potential cost to cities and towns have been an obstacle, but the issue is likely to resurface in the next legislative session, state Rep. Stephen Dargan, a West Haven Democrat who is co-chairman of the legislature's public safety committee, said last month.

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