Orangetown officer's Superstorm Sandy rescue deserves honors, not courtroom's ignorance: Letter

Re: “,” Jan. 3 article:

A court‘s rejection of accidental injury retirement benefits for Police Officer James Kelly is appalling and a disgrace. We as police officers take a sworn oath to serve and protect the citizens of this state no matter what the cost. We do what is right.

On that day in 2012, Officer Kelly and other Orangetown police officers responded to a job, not knowing what to expect. Remember that day when Superstorm Sandy blew in?  The fire department, which is a volunteer service, was tied up assisting others in the chaos caused by this storm. Kelly and other police responded to a house collapse.

Upon arrival, they were alerted to screams. They realized there were live victims trapped, and officers didn‘t know how long it would take the fire department to arrive. These officers put their lives on the line to save the trapped victims. The police officers disregarded their own safety to save them. They didn‘t think, they reacted. That is what we get paid to do. An officer sustained injuries doing his job.

If these officers hadn‘t acted and the house collapsed, killing the remainder of victims, how would they feel? 

The court‘s ruling denying those benefits sent a strong message to law enforcement:  Don‘t do nothing. (But that would never happen we have too much pride and character.)

Remember, officers put their lives on the line every day and some pay the ultimate sacrifice, while helping people they don‘t even know. 

Christopher Oconnell

Pearl River

The writer is a retired detective with the New York City Police Department.

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