An East Chicago state lawmaker is hoping improved death benefits for Hoosier police and firefighters may encourage Northwest Indiana public safety officers to continue working in the Region, instead of bolting for the generally higher salaries paid by Illinois communities.
State Rep. Earl Harris Jr., D-East Chicago, this month won study committee approval for his proposal to hike the one-time death benefit paid to the survivors of all deceased Indiana police and firefighters to $18,000, instead of $12,000.
The Interim Study Committee on Pension Management Oversight also endorsed Harris' idea to set the special death benefit for police and firefighters killed in the line of duty at $225,000, up from $150,000.
"Better death benefits for these brave men and women is just one way we can recruit the best of the best," Harris said.
"It also shows an appreciation for the efforts of those who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities."