A Newtown, Connecticut, police officer traumatized by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 must be paid more than $380,000 by his department, a Connecticut legal panel ordered on Thursday.
Officer Thomas Bean hasn't worked due to post-traumatic stress disorder since Dec. 14, 2012, when he was sent to the elementary school where a gunman had killed 20 first-grade students and six staff members.
The State Board of Mediation and Arbitration ruled the police department's contract with its police union requires that Bean, 38, receive half of his salary until he reaches retirement age, The Hartford Courant reported. That totals $380,797 over roughly 11 years, the Courant said.
The town had intended to halt disability payments to Bean in June, CTNews.com reported. The police chief once suggested firing Bean because he hadn't returned to duty, but later dropped the idea.
"Tom was not looking for a handout, he was simply looking for the town to live up to its contractual obligations." said union president Scott Ruszcyk, according to The Associated Press.
Bean had been on the force for 12 years when Adam Lanza went on his murderous rampage. The officer was posted at an exit where surviving students were evacuated. He entered the two classrooms where the 20 first-graders were slain.
"Nothing could prepare you for that," Bean said in a 2013 interview with CNN. "The worst possible scenes you could think of ... Because all there was, was horror."