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House unanimously passes bill to increase disability benefits for those injured in line of duty

Budget battle continues in Statehouse

File photo.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A bill that aims to increase the disability benefits to officers severely and permanently injured in the line of duty passed unanimously Monday in the Indiana House of Representatives.

House Bill 1617 would expand the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters Pension and Disability Fund and that of sheriff’s pension trusts to include benefits for police, deputies and firefighters who were severely injured in the line of duty and can no longer work.

Those who qualify would receive a monthly salary equal to that of a first class patrolman or firefighter. It also qualifies a spouse or child of an injured officer, deputy or firefighter for free tuition at a state college, university or technical school.

“Police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our families and community,” said Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis), the bill’s author. “If an individual is killed in the line of duty we take good care of their family, as we should. This bill addresses the public safety officers that were almost killed and now have lasting catastrophic and permanent injuries.”

Speedy says there are currently only significant benefits for the families of local law enforcement and firefighters who were killed in the line of duty. Under this bill, those who were injured after July 1, 2008, would be eligible for this disability compensation.

Senators Sandlin and Freeman are now sponsoring the bill in the State Senate.