Family of slain Connecticut state police officer not eligible for state pension

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The family of fallen Connecticut State Police Trooper First Class Aaron Pelletier will not receive his pension, although they were eligible for a number of other compensation and financial benefits.

Pelletier, who leaves behind his widow Dominique and two young sons, served with the state police for 11 years. After 10 years of service, he was eligible, but “in order for the surviving spouse to receive a pension, the deceased must have either reached the age of 55 or served the state for 25 years,” Connecticut State Police said in a statement, adding that this was a “glaring loophole in our laws.”

According to state Comptroller Sean Scanlon, the Pelletier family will receive $100,000 immediately from the recently established Fallen Officer Fund. The family will also receive $100,000 over 10 years as part of the death benefit, as well as 75 percent of his workers' compensation income. His surviving wife and children will also receive a refund of his pension contributions.

Auditor Scanlon adds that the family will also be eligible for government assistance programs, including Tunnel to Towers, which covers the mortgage payments of surviving victims.

Andrew Matthews of the Connecticut State Police Union said police families “receive a disability pension for the rest of the spouse's life, unless the spouse remarries. There is also a financial benefit for the children, up until they are 23 years old.”

Matthews did not disclose the amount of compensation the Pelletier family will receive, but said the union “welcomes the legal reform” and is “in constant contact” with the Pelletier family.

“[Pelletier’s wife] is fully aware of the legal and contractual benefits to which she is entitled and she knows that she has the full support of the union and the confidence that she will be taken care of,” added Matthews.

Senator Stephen Harding (R-Brookfield) believes that families of those killed in the line of duty should automatically be entitled to a pension in addition to other existing financial benefits.

“This is alarming and disturbing,” Harding told News 8. “I am prepared as a group to do everything we can to make sure that the family gets all the benefits that they are entitled to here. If we are going to make exceptions, then this is certainly one of those cases where we should make an exception.”

A spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter told News 8, “Hopefully this can be resolved administratively. If not, we will need to work with the state police union, state police leadership and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Safety to find a solution.”

Members of both parties assume that this issue will be addressed in the next legislative session.

An online fundraiser for the family launched by Connecticut State Police Troop H had raised nearly $674,000 as of Monday afternoon.

Anna Harden

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