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Police union seeks more help for Newtown officers

Some of the police officers who responded to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., are so traumatized they haven’t been working, but they have to use sick time and could soon be at risk of going without a paycheck, a union official said yesterday.

The union, Council 15 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is seeking more generous assistance in talks with the town’s insurer. It is also reaching out to lawmakers and the governor’s office with proposals to modify state law and expand workers’ compensation benefits for officers who witness horrific crime scenes.

“The insurer for the town has taken a position that these officers are entitled to only what the statute allows. Unfortunately for these officers, the statute doesn’t allow any benefits,” said Eric Brown, an attorney for the union, which represents nearly 4,000 officers around Connecticut.

Brown said that the number of officers “critically affected” by the tragedy is below 15 and that a small number of them are not currently working.

A spokesman for Newtown police, Lt. George Sinko, said the officers are generally holding up well.

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