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Police Union Seeks Funding For Trauma Treatment

As police this week continued their probe into the December 14 incident involving 28 shooting deaths, including 20 first-graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the lawyer who represents the Newtown Police Union is seeking help from the town, state, and federal governments to extend paychecks for "three to five" town police officers who were so traumatized by the incident that they have not yet been emotionally able to return to work.

Police union lawyer Eric Brown said this week that three to five of the town police officers who responded to the crime scene have been off work and collecting sick time pay in light of their being traumatized by the school shooting incident.

However, because the town provides only ten sick days for an officer annually, those police now face the prospect of being off work without pay, Mr Brown said.

The town police department has 45 members. Mr Brown said he expects that potentially 15 town police officers could be clinically emotionally affected by their response to the incident.

Mr Brown said that workman's compensation is keyed to providing funds for people with physical injuries, not emotional injuries such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The town government has been receptive to the plight of the police officers who have not returned to work, but the town does not have paycheck funds designated for such situations, Mr Brown said.

PTSD is an insidious long-lasting emotional condition, Mr Brown said.

Police face serious, intense situations on a daily basis, he said. But what occurred at Sandy Hook School on December 14 was something on a magnitude that could not have been imagined, he said.

Twenty first-graders and six school staff members were killed after a 20-year-old gunman shot his way into the K–4 school on Dickenson Drive and went on a shooting rampage with a military-style assault rifle.

State police, town police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the US Marshals Service this week continued their methodical probe into why Adam Lanza of 36 Yogananda Street, Sandy Hook, committed the horrific crime.

Adam Lanza had shot and killed his mother Nancy Lanza, 52, in her sleep at their home before driving to the school and going on the gunfire rampage. After police encountered him at the school, Lanza shot himself to death, bringing the total number of the dead to 28.

State police this week declined comment on their investigation into the mass murder incident. An investigatory report on what occurred, including a possible motive for the gunman's actions, is expected within several months.

Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe said he supports the police union's drive to have financial compensation provided for the police officers who are off work due to their emotional reaction to the shooting incident.

Since the shooting incident, police from other municipalities have aided Newtown police with local patrol work.

"They [other police] are done, but can be called in, as needed," he said of Newtown's ability to have other police cover local patrol work, as needed.

On Christmas, local police patrols were fully handled by police from other towns and cities, allowing town police to have the holiday off.

Chief Kehoe declined to answer questions about the police probe into the shooting incident, referring such queries to state police.

Investigation Progresses

As the police probe has progressed, some facts of the case have become clear.

According to a reliable local law enforcement source, Adam Lanza attempted to destroy all his computer equipment to prevent any tracing of his Internet usage and his electronic correspondence. It is thought that "some or most" of the computer data will be retrieved from the damaged equipment.

The source confirmed that Lanza used a Bushmaster-brand military-style semiautomatic assault rifle to kill all victims at the school. Lanza also carried two pistols.

Also, Lanza used a different rifle to kill his mother by firing four shots at her while she was in bed at home, according to the source. Adam Lanza left that rifle at Lanza residence.

Also, Lanza shot more than 100 rounds and possibly hundreds of rounds of ammunition at the school, according to the source.

Lanza was not wearing any "body armor" when the school incident occurred.

Additionally, a teacher at the school who realized what was occurring during the shooting incident crowded all of her students into a rest room adjoining her classroom and then pulled a bookcase in front of the bathroom door to obscure it from view. The people hiding in that bathroom survived.

A man with a gun who was spotted in the woods near the school on the day of the incident was an off-duty tactical squad police officer from another town, according to the source.

More stories like this: police, Sandy Hook, 12/14, PTSD
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