Newtown Cop's PTSD Could Get Him Fired
Thomas Bean was a first responder
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Nov 12, 2013 6:59 AM CST
People gather to mark the six-month anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., Friday, June 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

(Newser) – A Newtown, Conn., police officer on his day off was among the first to respond to the Sandy Hook school shooting—and he still can't escape the horrific memories. Thomas Bean has flashbacks and has considered suicide, he tells CNN: "That day killed me inside." He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and put on six-month disability, he and his union say. A police department letter calls him "permanently disabled," adding that the department can only afford two years of disability payments, and Bean could be fired.

When it comes to long-term disability, Connecticut only pays for mental health care if physical injury is also involved, says state House majority leader Joe Aresimowicz. "We don't just cover mental injuries," Aresimowicz says. "The last thing you want is a first responder getting ready to enter a situation and have them think, 'I wonder what long-term harm this will do me?'" Bean has 12 years before he can retire. "If I had my arm chopped off, they'd would say, 'Oh yeah, he's hurt.' But instead they're like, 'We can sweep (this) under the rug and not necessarily have to pay because ... it's not physically seen,'" he says.

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
Nov 13, 2013 8:59 AM CST
It's part of the job. And he should be compensated for what he encountered? Consider this. What if nobody responds to the next school shooting? With uncertainty like this, it's possible, maybe even probable. Another school shooting is guaranteed. The only question is when....and where. Do you really want no response at the next one? You know it's going to happen. No one seems to be interested in preventing these events. We all need to wake up.
Nov 12, 2013 10:55 PM CST
If he is not capable of doing his job then he should be laid off with some type of temporary disability benefits, not fired. It's no different if he had his leg shot off. He has a disability.
Nov 12, 2013 2:01 PM CST
I'd worry that anyone NOT badly affected by that incident would be a psychopath.