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Legislative committee hears public input on bill to support Maine corrections officers and 911 dispatchers

Those in favor of the bill say this is necessary as these jobs are continually underfunded and understaffed.
(wabi)
Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 4:15 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The legislative committee on Labor and Housing heard public input Friday on a bill to support Maine corrections officers and 911 dispatchers.

The proposal provides supplemental paid benefits to a corrections officer who is injured by someone in custody.

It also amends the workers’ compensation laws by adding in heart disease, hypertension, infectious disease, or PTSD caused by the job for 911 dispatchers and corrections officers.

Those in favor of the bill say this is necessary as these jobs are continually underfunded and understaffed.

“Depending on the study, the average life expectancy of a corrections officer is 59 to 62 years of age. Correctional staff are constantly providing the care and custody and control from anywhere from 1 to 80 prisoners. At any moment, you can go from calmness to chaos,” said William Doyle with National Correctional Employees Union.

“We appreciate that everything our frontline first responders do for our communities, but we really need help in paying for those benefits,” aid Kate Dufour with Maine Municipal Association.

Those opposed to the bill are worried about the financial impact to taxpayers.

Kate Dufour with the Maine Municipal Association says it would help if the state could meet its obligations.

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