In the lineSenator Bertino-Tarrant is a co-sponsor of legislation that expands the qualifying factors for line-of-duty death compensation to include suicide, in some cases. 

The bill provides that if a mental health professional deems an officer’s self-inflicted injuries were sustained as a direct result of the officer’s active duty service, the officer’s death will be considered a line-of-duty occurrence and the officer’s surviving family will be eligible for line-of-duty death benefits.

“Our public safety officials put their lives on the line every day,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Protecting their families from the effects of a dangerous job is the least we can do to show our appreciation.” 

Police officers have the highest incidence of suicide of any profession. Their incidence of depression and similar mental and emotional disorders is disproportionately high compared to other working professionals.

“Suicide is something that, unfortunately, plagues police departments across the state of Illinois,” said Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President, Michael Shields. “This is something that should have been included initially when the line-of-duty death benefit became law and this was our way of following through to ensure that families that have already suffered such a devastating loss aren’t left penniless.”

The Senate passed the bill today without opposition.  It will now head to the House for further action.

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