Blain Rogozinkski: New Britain Police Officer, COVID-19 Survivor

During Law Enforcement Week (May 10-16), our union honored public safety officers who died on the job while recognizing the unique role that first responders like AFSCME law enforcement members play during times of crisis.

Also known as Police Week, it was the right time to catch up with Patrolman Blain Rogozinski, president of AFSCME Local 1165 (New Britain, CT Police), and his wife Renee. They shared their reflections on Blain's battle with COVID-19, which left him hospitalized in critical condition, but overwhelmed with support from his union and law enforcement families. Check out our video!

Council 4 presents more than 2,000 police officers in approximately 40 cities and towns across the state. Police Week is a time not only to pay tribute to those who keep our communities safe but also to spotlight the dangers they face and to acknowledge their constant presence, more important now during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever.

In New London, for example, Todd Lynch, who has served his community for 20 years as a state trooper and as a police officer for the past 12 years, says that while “people have their own perspectives about law enforcement,” a new appreciation for front-line public service workers has taken hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The recognition is so much more than what it was before,” says Lynch, president of Local 724 of Council 4.

While appreciation of public service workers has grown recently, that doesn’t affect the way Lynch and his fellow officers serve their communities. In a city where, during an 8-hour shift, he might respond to a range of crimes, from a trespassing to a domestic violence call to a murder, Lynch remains focused on getting the job done and keeping people safe.

Lynch says Law Enforcement Week is also a time to remember those who “are still on the front lines.”

In 2019, three AFSCME-represented officers were killed or died in the line of duty. Their names, along with the names 135 other officers who died in the line of duty in 2019 (in addition to 172 officers who are being added from years prior), totaling 307 officers, will be engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

While the annual Police Week memorial ceremonies could not be held in person in Washington due to the pandemic, a virtual candlelight vigil was held in its place on May 13.

AFSCME is a proud partner and supporter of the police memorial and museum.