The Ohio Senate today passed Senate Bill 288, sponsored by Senator John Eklund (R–Munson Township), to create the Volunteer Police Officer’s Dependent Fund. The fund would function in the same manner as the already established volunteer firefighters dependents fund.
The legislation stems from the death of volunteer Willoughby Police Officer Jason Gresko who died in the line of duty. His family was not given the same benefits as a volunteer firefighter’s family in similar circumstances because no fund exists for volunteer and part-time police officers.
“Police officers put their lives on the line each and every day when they walk out their front doors for us. It is only right that any police officers, whether they are full-time, part-time or volunteer, should have these benefits,” said Eklund during testimony on the bill.
This legislation would provide benefits to the families of fallen officers who were part-time or volunteer police officers. The Volunteer Police Officer’s Dependent Fund will be created for these officers and will serve a similar purpose as the current state fund for volunteer firefighters.
“Since January 2002, 43 police officers have been killed in the line of duty or from injuries incurred while serving. While the majority of these families have received proper benefits, there are six that have not received anything. Senate Bill 288 will ensure that the families of our fallen heroes will receive the death benefits they deserve,” said Eklund.
The legislation will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.