It has almost been two months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary shook the world. While hearts everywhere were broken by the deaths of the 20 children and six adults, those who were not directly connected to the victims can’t know the pain that family and friends are going through.
But there is also a group of people that might not be related to the victims but definitely is living with a significant amount of pain because of the school shooting: the responding police officers. Unsurprisingly, their lives didn’t just go back to normal after the Dec. 14 incident.
Though the officers responsible for responding to and investigating the scene were not physically injured, they live with the memories of what they saw on that dark day. Just as soldiers return from war after having experienced and seen unthinkable acts of violence, several of the Newtown officers are dealing with what doctors diagnose as post traumatic stress disorder.
At least one officer has already been diagnosed with PTSD. He’s been having sleeping problems and dealing with psychological and mental struggles that would make him unfit to do his job. An attorney for the police suspects that as many as 15 officers in the department are likely struggling with PTSD. But what does this mean for their careers and financial stability?
The current workers’ compensation laws that apply to the officers don’t explicitly include the witnessing of horrific violence as an incident that would make a worker eligible for financial benefits. Those officers who are struggling through their days, however, are working with their union to change that.
“Words can’t describe how horrible it was,” shares one of the detectives. And perhaps workers’ compensation lawmakers never could have imagined a horrible incident like that of Sandy Hook.
Our Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys know that various conditions, visible or not, can keep a person from working. We help injured and sick workers get the financial support that they need to get by.
Source: The New York Times, “Reliving Horror and Faint Hope at Massacre Site,” Ray Rivera, Jan. 28, 2013