Police, Firefighter PTSD Bill Set To Advance

The issue of treatment of police officers and firefighters with PTSD has been the subject of numerous reports by NBC Connecticut Investigates

A bill aiming to protect and improve treatment of police officers and firefighters with PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, will advance to the floor of the state Senate.

This bill comes after nine months of hard negotiation between lawmakers, police and fire unions, and representatives of Connecticut’s towns and cities, and they are optimistic it will pass.

“Our worst day, is their every day, and this is so important that we finally give them a pathway to being fully restored and healed", said Rep. Robyn Porter of Hamden.

NBC Connecticut Investigates previously reported on a survey of almost 8,000 officers on PTSD by the Fraternal Order of Police and NBC owned stations, which took a deeper look at the issues officers reported experiencing after stressful calls.

For years police officers and firefighters have fought stigma, and stagnation when it came to towns and cities giving them the help they needed after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.

In fact, many lives have been lost by officers and firefighters who could not handle the difficult mental drain known as PTSD.

Now all sides have come forward with a bill that provides help for police and firefighters that experience one of six qualifying events while on duty.

“In those limited incidents where officers will be able to reach the benefits provided by this bill, there will be only medical benefits, and wages replaced", said Nicholas Lukiwsky, past president of the Waterbury police union.

All sides here stress that there are no permanent benefits included in this.

The bill also contains language that provides clearer steps for an officer to get back his or her badge and gun after getting a PTSD diagnosis.

90% of officers surveyed said they believe there is a stigma in law enforcement about seeking help for mental illness

At the same time, everyone admits this bill remains a work in progress on its finer details.

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