Maturo: Town to Put Long Term "Employee Response Team" in Place for Officers Injured in North Haven Explosion
Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. announced today that, in addition to all of the customary mechanisms in place to assist sick or injured employees, the Mayor is assembling a long term "Employee Response Team" to provide long term support to the East Haven Police Officers injured and hospitalized following the explosion Wednesday on Quinnipiac Avenue in North Haven.
Maturo explained, "The incident Wednesday is tragic for all involved, especially the officers who were injured in the wake of the blast. Given the unique nature of the incident, I am assembling a team of relevant local Town officials to provide long-term follow-up, assistance, advice, and guidance to the East Haven officers who were injured. We want our officers to know we're with them for the long haul as they recover physically, emotionally, and psychologically from this tragedy."
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, Maturo indicates the Town's Risk-Benefits Coordinator, worker's compensation carrier, and Town Attorney were following up with East Haven's police brass to ensure the injured officers got the care and attention they needed. Maturo indicates that the Town also has an "Employee Assistance" program through which employees can unilaterally seek out a variety of resources. However, given the nature of the event Wednesday, Maturo says he wants this ad hoc "Employee Response Team" dedicated exclusively to providing comprehensive, long-term support to East Haven's injured officers.
Maturo explained, "Following the tragedy, I called all of the injured officers and spoke to them and even to some of their family members. Although they are in good spirits, they justifiably have concerns. Right now, our officers are receiving all of the medical attention they deserve. However, after both that attention and the media attention fades, we know our officers are going to need emotional support and career guidance in addition to other resources. These are life changing circumstances and they require a comprehensive, compassionate response."
Maturo noted, "I've already asked Joe Coppola, my Assistant Director of Administration and Management for human resources, to meet with Danelle Feeley, our risk-benefits coordinator, to speak with the Police Chief to identity the other key local officials who will serve on this response team. I envision enlisting the support of the Town's Behavioral Health Consultants, through the Town's EAP Provider, along with other private community stakeholders. I've also asked Chief Lennon to review best policing practices to see what additional measures we can put in place here that we might not be immediately thinking about."
Maturo concluded, "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with our officers and the officers of other jurisdictions who were involved in this tragedy. Right now, our police family needs us. There are real concerns that some of these officers may never be able to be officers again. Those concerns alone require that we provide the type of comprehensive response that we are rolling out. We intend to get this team together immediately, have it reach out to the officers to identify their concerns and needs, and then address those needs as quickly and completely as possible."