When Phil Roselle signed on as a police officer in Norwalk, he always thought that he and his family would be taken care of if he was injured or killed in the line of duty.
But after being shot by his sergeant when a gun discharged during a training mission, Roselle is struggling to get the benefits that were promised to him.
Now his family is struggling to pay the medical bills while keeping the lights on in their house.
Roselle was originally injured when officers were training with their newly issued Glock handguns. The officer whose gun accidentally went off believed he had cleared the gun’s chamber before dismantling the gun, but when he pulled the trigger, a bullet sent Roselle staggering to the floor.
“I have a bullet in my chest that I feel every day whether I breathe, cough or sneeze or laugh. It’s constantly there,” said the 30-year veteran of the force. “I’m used to protecting and helping people. To turn around and have everyone needing to help me, it’s something that will take some time getting used to.”
All over the country we continue to hear stories about injured officers being denied benefits when they truly are in need. Sadly, a lot of these first responders confess that they wish they had just been killed in the incidents, because then at least their families would’ve been taken care of.
Roselle is now escalating his case up to the State Capitol, pushing lawmakers to enact a bill that would provide better compensation for officers that were injured in the line of duty.
Since the accident, Roselle has been on disability, but when the medical bills began rolling in, the benefits disappeared quickly. Roselle was denied his Workers Compensation claims twice. The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission reasoned that an underlying health problem, Type 1 diabetes, is keeping him out of work. Roselle rebutted this claim, stating that he had been living with diabetes his whole life and that it never kept him from performing his duties as an officer.
The expenses have not been the only problem that the Roselle family has been facing. The 2017 incident has made a dramatic impact on Phillip’s mental health and overall demeanor.
“He is not the same person. He has permanent nerve damage in his right hand, he still has the bullet lodged in his rib, he has PTSD and his kidneys have failed,” said his wife, Debbie. “My life has been a complete roller coaster.”
Now the family is working alongside Massachusetts State Senator Bob Duff to push SB 566, a bill that would properly compensate police and first responders who were injured. The bill gives cities the ability to authorize full pay and benefits to public safety workers who are injured.
“When you serve your city and you put your life on the line for 30 years, and they turn their back on you, it just hurts,” said Debbie.
“We just want to know that our families are going to be taken care of,” Roselle stated.