Deputies from Orange County, California who were at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival when shooting broke out are being denied workers compensation for their injuries.
Orange County law states that the county doesn’t need to pay for injuries sustained outside the state, and that laws prohibit it. The off-duty first responders who originally came to simply enjoy the concert ended up aiding local Las Vegas police in saving lives, reported NBC News.
“These deputies jumped into action during the Las Vegas massacre without thinking for a second about where it was happening or whether they were technically on duty,” said Tom Dominguez, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, via a statement obtained by NBC News.
County officials want to work on new legislation that would allow first responders who happen to find themselves in such a situation to still have access to workers compensation benefits when they return home.
“Active shooters, terrorists and criminals who exemplify pure evil don’t pay attention to state lines; law enforcement shouldn’t have to either,” said Dominguez. “Counties and municipalities must properly interpret the law to ensure the public is protected.”
Out of four Orange County deputies submitting claims about injuries sustained during the massacre, one was shot. More than 40 off-duty Orange County sheriff’s personnel attended the festival. Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer hopes new legislation can be enacted for more flexibility with workers compensation in events like these, The Orange County Register reported.
“We live in a very different world, and I think, unfortunately, I think we’re going to see these acts against our citizens,” Spitzer said, via the Register. “I don’t want to see people run away and leave their fellow citizen behind. I want to encourage people to help others.”
“Right now, the (county) CEO doesn’t have any ability to authorize those kinds of benefits, so as the county, we’re saying we’re going to be there to help,” Spitzer added, in hopes of getting the new legislation passed.
But the legislation that Spitzer and others are proposing will not cover long term injuries. Spitzer said that to pay for injuries requiring more treatment would need to be determined by higher legislative and legal authorities.
But Dominguez thinks that under the current law, the deputies are still entitled to workers compensation benefits.