Police unions are pushing for officers to be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, whether they got it from the general stress of police work or from responding to a deadly shooting rampage, reports the Associated Press. “I can’t imagine a department in the United States without officers who have symptoms of PTSD and are still working,” said Ron Clark of the Badge of Life, a group of active and retired officers working to raise awareness of police stress and suicide prevention. “We’re beginning to see more and more states talking about this,” he said.
Some police chiefs and city leaders oppose lawmakers’ efforts, even in states like Connecticut and Colorado, the scenes of some of the deadliest massacres in recent years. They are concerned the benefits would strain budgets and lead to frivolous claims. “We support and appreciate the efforts of our police and firefighters, but there’s a concern when you expand benefits,” said Betsy Gara of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns. The debate has been emotional in that state, still haunted by the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Newtown police officer Thomas Bean told lawmakers his depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts left him unable to work. “I’m always being re-traumatized because I don’t know what my future is,” Bean said. The Crime Report reported on police and PTSD in March.