Governor signs line of duty death benefits bill into law

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) Governor Matt Bevin has signed a bill into law that provides benefits to the families of all state workers killed in the line of duty.

Louisville police officer Nick Rodman

"This is where government works on behalf of people who work for us," said Bevin in a video of him signing the bill.

House Bill 185 was set in motion last year after the death of Louisville police officer, Nick Rodman. He was hit and killed by a fleeing suspect during a car chase.

Rodman's wife confronted lawmakers when she couldn't gain access to his death benefits.

"They could not find the beneficiary form, and his wife went without insurance and benefits for about a year," said Skylar Graudick, with the Fraternal Order of Police. "The city of Louisville stepped in to help them, but if they hadn't done that, they wouldn't have had anything."

Before the bill was passed, spouses of fallen officers received a monthly pay of 25 percent of an officer's salary and any retirement benefits the officer received. Now, spouses will receive monthly pay of 75 percent of the officer's salary, plus 10 percent more for each child.

What's special about this law is that it covers not only first responders, but all state employees classified as non-hazardous, like teachers, social workers and skilled laborers killed in line-of-duty related deaths.

"If you ask people to risk their lives for low pay and difficult conditions, and they also realize that their family won't be taken care of if something happens to them, that's a big problem for keeping people to do the job," said Graudick.

He hopes the new law will encourage more people to start a career in law enforcement.

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