ALBUQUERQUE, NM – A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy seriously injured three weeks ago when a man went on a shooting rampage through Albuquerque is still facing a long recovery time while taking a major pay cut.
Deputy Robin Hopkins was shot in the leg by Christopher Chase in October.
“Some employees get hurt, they’re out maybe a week or two, not really a big deal,” Kyle Hartsock, president of the Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, told News 13. “She’s going to be out months, most likely years.”
Hartsock says Hopkins’ case highlights a big lapse in the system. He says while her injury is covered by workman’s compensation, nothing is being paid into her retirement account and she’s taking about a 30 percent pay cut while she recovers.
Another big blow: Hartsock says in a few more months, Hopkins’ insurance premiums won’t be covered anymore.
“Her husband and young son will lose their medical insurance unless she pays about $1000 out of pocket per month to keep the insurance going,” Hartsock said.
Hartsock said the union and county, though, have found a loophole. Other county employees can donate vacation or sick time to Hopkins so she receives her full paycheck and benefits during her recovery.
Their goal is to secure two years of donated time for Hopkins. Hartsock said they’ll start pushing paperwork through next week, but several county employees have already expressed interest.
The union, Sheriff Dan Houston, and other law enforcement leaders have been in contact with county and state legislators to try to change the system for those gravely injured in the line of duty.