(NASHVILLE, TN), February 2, 2012 — The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation to extend a $25,000 death benefit currently provided to local police officers or sheriffs’ deputies to state employees engaged in the detection and prevention of crime. Senate Bill 2204, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), would provide a death benefit to Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agents, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers, Park Rangers employed by the Department of Conservation and Environment, and bomb and arson officers in the Department of Commerce and Insurance. The death benefit would apply to employees who are killed in the line of duty.
“This is a benefit I hope Tennessee never has to pay. We pray for the safety of all our officers,” said Senator Norris, “but we recognize the dangers that many of them face. History involving the death of officers while performing their duties proves the need for this benefit.”
State law currently limits the $25,000 death benefit to sheriff’s deputies or any police officer employed by a municipality whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime and apprehension of offenders. The bill simply adds law enforcement officers employed by the state to those covered under that law.
“We certainly need to make sure that the families of Tennessee’s law enforcement employees have the same death benefit currently provided to local police officers,” added Norris. “We have many brave officers who work for Tennessee. They need to know their families will be considered if they die in the line of duty.”