Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today joined Sheriff Kenneth "Al" Kisner and the family of Sergeant Michael Todd May to emphasize the importance of House Bill 4396, which adds law enforcement officers who die in the line of duty to the West Virginia Fire and EMS Survivor Benefit Act.
"Sergeant Michael Todd May's death was a harsh reminder of the dangers our law enforcement officers face daily. While he was an officer sworn to uphold the law and ensure our safety, it was his commitment to his community and state that inspired many. Todd is just one of the reasons it was so important to ensure the families of fallen law enforcement officers received the same benefits provided to firefighters and EMS personnel," said Gov. Tomblin. "I'd like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Delegate Randy Swartzmiller and Delegate Dan Poling for championing this effort from the very the beginning. Together we worked diligently to pass this much needed legislation and in doing so, I believe the families of our fallen officers will be better taken care of now and in the future."
Effective Jan. 1, 2012, surviving spouses or designated beneficiaries of law enforcement are eligible for a $50,000 benefit from the state upon the death of an officer in the line of duty. The bill also provides clarity to the application process for the benefit and encourages departments for fire, EMS and police to keep personnel records of designated beneficiaries to avoid potential problems.