hastings-040114SPRINGFIELD – Earlier today, the Senate passed a measure that will help the family of a law enforcement officer who takes his or her own life due to mental health issues stemming from active duty. 

Senate Bill 3042, sponsored by State Senator Michael Hastings (D–Orland Park), will expand the definition of “killed in the line-of-duty” to include suicides, allowing the family to apply for line-of-duty compensation – financial assistance given to the family of a fallen public safety officer. A mental health professional must establish that the suicide was a result of mental illness arising from the officer’s active duty service.

“Suicide is an unfortunate reality in our society,” Hastings said. “Not only do we have to ensure officers have access to treatment to help prevent these instances from occurring, but we also have an obligation to assist the families overcome these tragic incidences.”

Suicide rates for law enforcement officers are higher than the general population. According to a 2012 study, suicides occur 1.5 times more frequently among law enforcement officials than in the general population.

“Law enforcement officers perform their duties in constant, high-stress situations on a day-to-day basis,” Hastings said. “They interact with individuals suffering from physical and psychological trauma and are often put in high-risk situations where mistakes can lead to fatal results.”

Senate Bill 3042 passed the Senate 54-0 and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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