NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTVR) – The police officer’s union in Connecticut is asking for financial help for the first responders who entered the Sandy Hook Elementary school moments after 26 children and teachers were shot to death.
Eric Brown says the officers are trained to handle traumatic events, but nothing to the magnitude of what they experienced on December 14, when gunman Adam Lanza shot 20 first grade students along with six teachers and administrators and then turned the gun on himself.
Brown says mental health experts have learned from tragedies like Virginia Tech, that officers who first enter a tragic scene can require therapy and several days to recover from what they experienced. Especially those who fire on the suspect, that may continue to replay the events in their minds and second guess how they handled the situation.
Brown says the magnitude of the Newtown massacre can have long lasting chronic effects.
Police officers in Newtown currently receive 10 paid sick days a year, but the Union is asking for a surplus of funds to be collected to allow officers to take extra time off without going without financial help.
“What we’re looking for basically, is a funding mechanism to make sure that if officers need to take time off from work, there’s money available to continue their paychecks, ” said Brown.