Wounded police officers would get extra pay, time to heal under state bill

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A bill pending in Sacramento would give wounded officers an extra year of salary before they might be forced to go on disability. (KABC)

Riverside police officer Andrew Tachias is still recovering from the bullet wounds, more than three years after being shot nine times by rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner.

Under current state law, cities only have to pay the full salary of wounded officers like Tachias for one year. After that, they can go on disability, but might be forced to retire early.

But some officers, like Tachias, want the state to grant them extra time to recover, allowing them to avoid early retirement and eventually get back on the force.

"What I want to say to you guys, is that it would be tough at the time I got injured to be 28 years old and be retired," Tachias told a State Senate committee last week.

The legislation sponsored by state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, would require cities to pay the full salary of wounded officers for an extra year, before the costs were covered by the disability system.

"Officers, peace officers and firefighters, they protect us," Roth said. "And when they're injured in such a catastrophic way, I think it's our obligation to give those officers and firefighters who are trying to get back to work a little more time to recover."

That would also create a financial burden on cities, triggering opposition from some who note that when an officer is wounded the government also has to hire and pay the salary of another officer to take his or her place.

The city of Rancho Cucamonga is also against the bill, explaining in a written statement: "As a rule, we do not support mandated one-size-fits-all legislation from Sacramento which fails to take into account local situations."

Roth counters that the bill would only apply to people with catastrophic wounds or severe burns.

The bill could come up for a vote within the next few weeks.
Related Topics:
police officer injuredpolice officer shotpolicecalifornia legislationdisabilityRiversideRiverside CountySacramento
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