Lawmakers pass 9/11 sick leave for ex-NYPD officers

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RONKONKOMA -

State lawmakers have passed a measure that will have the state pay for additional sick days for former NYPD officers who worked at Ground Zero. 

As an NYPD officer, Tom Wilson was in Manhattan when the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11. He later left the NYPD and joined the Suffolk County Police Department. That's when he started to become sick, developing an aggressive form of head and neck cancer.

"I had major surgery, reconstructive surgery – my tongue removed, neck dissected, grafts on my arms, my forearms, my legs. And I beat it," he told News 12 Long Island

Many other city officers found themselves in a similar situation, developing illnesses after leaving the NYPD to join county or village police departments. Soon enough, they quickly burned through all of their sick time. 

Advocates turned to state lawmakers for help.

"They find themselves in this loophole where their current job tells them 'you didn't get injured on our time' and the NYPD says 'well, you don't work for us anymore.' So this law would close that loophole," says Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. 

Under the bill, the state will pick up the cost of unlimited sick time for the hundreds of former NYPD officers who are now serving with other police departments.

The state Assembly passed the measure Tuesday. It passed unanimously Wednesday in the state Senate. 

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