In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.

Current, Former Mass. Police Officers Testify in Support of Disability Pensions Bill

Current and former law enforcement officers testified at the Massachusetts State House Tuesday in support of a bill that would grant severely injured officers their regular salary even after they were forced to leave the police force.

The Joint Committee on Public Service listened to testimony from a number of people, including two officers who were shot in the line of duty: former Somerville Police Det. Mario Oliveria and former Woburn Police Officer Bob DeNapoli.

Oliveria and DeNapoli are working with State Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, whose bill would allow future officers injured by violence and forced to retire, to continue to receive 100% of their regular pay until they reach the age of mandatory retirement.

Those officers would be eligible for 80% of their pension including cost of living increases.

DeNapoli was shot six times investigating a jewelry store robbery in 2011. He is now blind in one eye and unable to work as a police officer.

Oliveria was investigating a case in 2010 when he was also shot six times. He tried to get back to work, but had a heart attack that left him unable to do so.

Both men emotionally told legislators that right now, families get more benefits if an officer dies.

"There were days I sat on my bed thinking I should have died. My family would be better off," Oliveria said.

"I couldn't grasp the idea [of not being a police officer]... it was more than a job or career for me. It was a way of life," DeNapoli said.

If the bill passes, it would be the first of its kind in the country, according to Oliveria.

Read the full bill here.

Contact Us