A state board has ruled that Newtown, Connecticut, must pay long-term disability to a police officer who developed anxiety and depression after responding to the 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Thomas Bean, 38, has been out on disability with post-traumatic stress disorder and hasn't worked since the massacre, which left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.
The Hartford Courant reports the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration ruled the police contract requires the town to pay Bean half his salary until retirement, an amount that will total more than $380,000. Newtown's insurance company is paying 50 percent of his salary through June.
"The union is happy with the decision. Not only is it a victory for the union, but a victory for the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement," union President Scott Ruszcyk said in a statement. "Tom was not looking for a handout, he was simply looking for the town to live up to its contractual obligations."
Newtown's police chief had recommended firing Bean when he could not return to work but later withdrew the proposal.
Bean was among many officers who went to the school the day of the shooting. He was posted at one of the side entrances as children were being evacuated. He said he was deeply traumatized by what he saw when he went into the classrooms where the victims were killed.
Bean appeared before Connecticut lawmakers last year and discussed his ordeal as the General Assembly considered whether to grant workers compensation coverage for certain first responders suffering from PTSD.