By JB Clark
TUPELO – Tupelo’s police are asking the City Council to allow their sick leave to be donated to a wounded officer.
The request stems from the desire of some officers to donate their leave to officer Joseph Maher, according to Tupelo Police Chief Bart Aguirre.
The 27-year-old Maher was shot by a fleeing bank robbery suspect on South Gloster Street on Dec. 23. The suspect was caught in traffic and shot Maher and another officer as they attempted to approach the suspect’s vehicle.
Tupelo Police Sgt. Kevin “Gale” Stauffer, 38, died from a gunshot wound sustained during the shootout.
“Each officer gets a day (of sick leave) per month (worked), and that accrues,” Aguirre said. “Some of these officers are wanting to donate to (Maher’s) sick leave because they know that he’s only got five years of time in the department.”
Maher has worked in the Tupelo Police Department since September 2008.
The sick days accrued over five years will probably not be enough to recover from a serious gunshot wound, according to the police chief.
“He’s going to need some time donated to make sure he doesn’t lose pay, and we want to make sure he continues to receive his pay,” Aguirre said, adding that those who have been in the department for multiple decades like himself have saved up enough sick leave to spare.
The request to be able to donate sick leave is on the Tupelo City Council’s agenda review and should go before the City Council for approval Tuesday night.
Maher was released from North Mississippi Medical Center on Tuesday morning, eight days after being shot.
Aguirre said Maher is able to communicate and can walk with assistance.