State lawmaker has a plan to take care of families of fallen officers

By Kimberly Nelson

Published 04/24 2014 10:16PM

Updated 04/25 2014 05:27AM

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Many thought they'd be taken care of, but families of fallen officers in Utah are now learning that the benefits offered just aren’t enough. That’s why one local lawmaker is stepping forward to work on a solution.


Nathan Mohler is Sgt. Cory Wride’s stepson. Earlier this month he sat down with ABC 4 Utah to talk with us about his family’s financial situation.


“My mom said that my dad said shortly before he died, ironically, that if I ever die in the line of duty you'll be set, you'll never have to work a day in your life again,” said Mohler.


Sadly that's not the case for the family of Utah County Sgt. Cory Wride who killed in the line of duty on January 30th.


Mohler said, “One of the benefits of working as a police officer is knowing your family will be taken care of if something happens to you and they're not."


Sgt. Wride was just 9 months shy of the 20 years necessary for his to receive 50% of his salary for the rest of her life. Instead she's receiving about $1,800 a month; most of which Representative Paul Ray says goes to pay for their health care plan.


Rep. Ray told ABC 4 Utah. "Right now they have to pay for Cobra so the 37 ½% of the pension is taken up completely, I think there's $50 left over at the end of the month."


Rep. Ray was shocked when he found out how little benefits these families were receiving, so this summer he plans to sit down with lawmakers and other parties involved to come up with something better for Utah.


"Right now they get a $1500 disbursement payment, lump sum. We’re going to move that up to 6 months worth of salary and that's just meant to help them meet their immediate issues that they have,” said Ray.


On top of that they'd look at different health care options for the families.


"What we would do is we would actually start a state pool on the insurance,” explained Rep. Ray. “So if an officer goes down in the line of duty then we would put them into the PEHP pool, the public employees’ health pool, we would put them into there and then the state would cover the cost for that."


The plan, which will be hammered out this summer, also looks at special pension benefits or the creation of one million dollar life insurance policies for fallen officers.


Mohler said, "I used to work in an iron foundry and I would have been better taken care of if I died in an iron foundry accident than my dad, then my mom is now and that's unacceptable, it's unacceptable."

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