NJ prison cop slashed in face by inmate — Will he get full benefits?
TRENTON — A state correctional police officer slashed in the face by an inmate on Monday continues to recover as union officials renew a call for a broader sick leave injury law prison for prison workers injured on the job.
In addition to the deep cut on the side of his face from an "edged weapon," the officer also broke a wrist while restraining the prisoner, according to State Policeman’s Benevolent Association Local 105 Executive Vice President William Sullivan.
The officer was later taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for treatment and a GoFundMe campaign was setup for his benefit.
Sullivan said under current standards of the state's SLI law for corrections officers, Barnett's eligibility to receive a full paycheck until worker's compensation kicks in is not a sure thing.
A correctional police officer must suffer “serious bodily injury" to be eligible to continue to receive "full wages for up to six months or until the officer begins receiving compensation for that injury," according to the bill signed into law in 2017.
The current law considers “serious bodily injury” to mean "substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ," which Sullivan said has led to a lot of officers being denied SLI benefits.
If deemed eligible, the officer who was attacked on Monday would receive benefits for only six months.
Sullivan noted then-Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill that would have broadened the standard so those injured in the line of duty can receive benefits for 12 months.
PBA Local 105 represents the state’s 6,000 active correctional police and parole officers in state facilities.
Sullivan said while municipal police departments have light or desk duty and State Police have unlimited sick time, corrections officers can't work any other post during recovery and so have no choice but to be out of work.
He said proposed legislation that would provide corrections officers who are injured on the job with benefits more in line with those received by other law enforcement agencies has been stuck in committee since winter.
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