Wife of injured Norwalk officer pleads for change to compensation laws

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NORWALK -

The wife of a Norwalk police officer who was accidentally shot during training is pushing for changes that would give more comprehensive benefits to first responders who have been injured in the line of duty.

Debbie Roselle's husband Phil was a police officer in Norwalk for more than 30 years. She says their lives changed forever when he was shot by his sergeant during firearms training in September 2017.

"In this situation, I thought he would've been taken care of," says Debbie.

News 12 is told that Officer Phil Roselle has since spent more than a year fighting for both his health and his compensation, arguing that the shooting left him with permanent damage to his hand and increased complications with his prior condition, diabetes.

Roselle says she is pushing for legislation that allows mayors to get around the state's worker's compensation system and provide full lifetime benefits to a critically injured first responder.

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling says that is not possible under the current laws, though he would support any legislation that could help first responders to a greater degree.

"The mayor cannot mandate something at the state level, and there's no process at the city level for that to happen," he says.

Rilling says that while the city is making up for what worker's comp doesn't pay Roselle as part of the police union contract, it's not known how long that will continue.

Debbie Roselle also says the legislation she's pushing for is similar to one on the books in nearby Massachusetts.

State Sen. Bob Duff, however, says the worker's comp system is very different from that in Connecticut, and that changing the law to allow such a system would be difficult.

 

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