Statement from Mario Oliveira (ret. Somerville PD ) & Robert DeNapoli (ret. Woburn PD)
We are police officers who have been forced into retirement due to traumatic injuries suffered at the hands of violent felons. We – along with the family and friends surrounding us – have a unique understanding of the true sacrifice that is sometimes necessary while serving your community.
Unfortunately, both of us have experienced the unnecessary amount of emotional stress that comes with the process of retiring from our communities due to disability. Neither of us wanted to retire. We wanted to continue to serve as police officers, but the nature of our injuries made it impossible.
During this difficult period in our lives, the late Senator Ken Donnelly reached out to both of us to pledge his unwavering support for us and for legislation that remains before the state legislature today, guaranteeing 100 percent disability retirement to violently injured police officers.
We met with Cindy Friedman, then Senator Donnelly’s chief of staff, many times during this process. She was a warm voice, open ear, and true supporter of law enforcement. We cannot express enough how patient, kind, and understanding Cindy was to our needs during that emotional and stressful time.
The new draft of the bill, S1405 was drafted and filed after Cindy again, met with us and Police Chiefs Robert Bongiorno from Bedford and Brian Kyes from Chelsea to discuss issues that affect injured officers and their families. The proposed legislation will, without doubt, help permanently injured police officers and their support systems better cope with the unwanted, unexpected, and abrupt retirement process.
There is nothing worse for the psychological welfare of a police officer than to have the job taken away from you by force. We work our whole lives preparing, training, and working to make a difference. When a bullet – or six – takes the job away from you, an officer is often left with little to support them or help them cope. Worse, they are often left with a cumbersome process that is stacked against them as they apply for the just compensation that is due to them.
Violently injured police officers gave their physical and emotional wellbeing to their communities. Cindy Friedman understands that these brave men and women need the support of the cities, towns, and state that they love now more than ever.
We are proud and humbled to advocate on behalf of former police officers living with their ongoing injuries, both visible and invisible, and we loudly endorse Cindy Friedman for Massachusetts State Senate.
Mario Oliveira was shot and nearly killed by a suspect in 2012 while serving a high-risk warrant on a violent felon as part of a Somerville/ATF task force.
Robert DeNapoli was forced to retire from the Woburn Police Department in 2012 after he was shot six times during a botched jewelry store robbery.