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12/14 First Responders Will Receive Compensatory Time from State

As part of agreement between Connecticut's labor office and six state unions, state employees will receive 40 hours of compensatory time.

State employees who served as first responders to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will receive 40 hours of compensatory time as the result of an agreement struck between the state and six state labor unions, Gov. Dannel Malloy's office announced Tuesday.

The state's Office of Labor Relations reached the agreement in conjunction with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union, the Administrative and Residual Union, District 1199, the Connecticut State Police Union, the Connecticut State Employees Association and the Connecticut Police and Fire Union.

Compensatory time will also be offered to non-union workers, Malloy said.

"The men and women directly involved in the response to this horrible tragedy in many cases needed time to recover from the severe nature of what they experienced through simply doing their jobs," he said. "This is only one step, but it is important that we recognize the professionals who are there during unimaginable moments of difficulty, and that we continue to support them."

Many state first responders, as well as town employees, used extensive personal leave time to recover from Dec. 14. Connecticut State Police Union President Andrew Matthews said the effects have been "devastating."

"There is no question that everyone’s life changed that day and every state employee who witnessed the tragedy firsthand was in need of the Malloy Administration’s support to cope with the consequences of the horrific scene that may never be erased from their minds," he said. "State troopers, both on and off-duty, ran towards the face of evil and witnessed one of the most violent events our country has ever seen. As a result, some continue to suffer from the effects."

Connecticut Police and Fire Union President Glenn Terlecki said state police were "forever scarred" by Dec. 14.

"Police officers are sworn to protect and keep safe those that they serve," he said. "Unlike many other occupations, when an event occurs that denies police officers the ability to carry out their oaths, an insufferable sense of personal loss occurs. These courageous first responders, many of whom are parents themselves, must live the rest of their lives with irrevocable memories of this tragedy. As difficult as it may be, they will carry on and do their best to defend all that is good and defeat all that is evil, for they are police officers."

Connecticut's General Assembly has final approval on the measure, which will automatically take effect in 30 days if no action is taken.

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