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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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CT Police Officers Honor Cathy Osten With Leadershp Award for Her Work on PTS

HARTFORD – State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) has received a Distinguished Leadership Award from the Police Officers Association of Connecticut (POACT) in appreciation of her leadership and advocacy in protecting Connecticut’s first responders by writing and passing a new state law that provides Connecticut’s police officers and firefighters with workers’ compensation coverage for the emotional and mental injuries they may suffer on the job after witnessing some particularly horrible trauma.

Last year, Sen. Osten helped write and pass the new state law which expands the definition of ‘personal injury’ in state workers’ compensation law to include so-called “mental-mental” injuries (a mental injury without an accompanying physical injury.) The new law is expected to cover an estimated 36,000 state and local employees, including 26,800 firefighters, 8,180 police officers, 958 state police officers and 140 parole officers.

“I’m honored to be recognized by the Police Officers Association of Connecticut for putting in several years of work on a bill to require workers’ compensation coverage for the traumatic injuries suffered by police officers and firefighters while they’re on the job,” Sen. Osten said. “Now we’ve finally got a law that treats an injury to your brain the same way we treat and injury to an arm or a leg. I’m so pleased to have passed a bill that protects those who work to protect us every day.”

POACT is an organization dedicated to keeping its members informed on legislation being debated at the Capitol which directly affects police officers, their working conditions, their wages and benefits, and public safety, and to promote the involvement and action of police officers in such debates.

Workers’ compensation laws typically cover medical expenses and allow an employee to collect a portion of their paycheck for a certain time period if they suffer a physical injury on the job – say, a gunshot, a burn, or a broken leg.

But workers’ compensation laws rarely provide coverage for the emotional or mental injuries a police officer or firefighter may suffer after experiencing a particularly harrowing scene, such as a mass shooting or a car accident.

The new state law that Sen. Osten wrote allows workers’ compensation benefits to be paid to police, volunteer or full-time firefighters, and parole officers diagnosed with PTS and who experienced one of the six following events:

  • Witnessing the death of a person.
  • Witnessing an injury that causes the death of a person shortly thereafter.
  • Treating an injured person who dies shortly thereafter.
  • Carrying an injured person who dies shortly thereafter.
  • Viewing a deceased minor.

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