Governor Bob McDonnell today signed legislation which will extend short term disability benefits for Virginia State Police officers injured in the line of duty. SB95, sponsored by Senator Fred Quayle (R-Suffolk), extends the length of time that a state police officer subject to a work-related injury in the line of duty will receive supplemental short-term disability coverage equal to 100% of their compensation. Currently, officers are only eligible for coverage for 125 days of work. SB95 expands the coverage to six months. Additionally, if certified by the Superintendent of State Police, this coverage can be extended to one year if a medical evaluation indicates the officer is likely to return to service within the additional six months. Delegate Bill Carrico (R-Galax) sponsored similar legislation in the House. Attending today’s ceremonial bill signing, in addition to Senator Quayle and Delegate Carrico, were Delegate Beverly Sherwood (R-Winchester); Secretary of Public Safety Marla Decker; Deputy Secretary of Public Safety John Buckovich; Virginia State Police Deputy Superintendent Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Northern; and Wayne Huggins, Executive Director of the Virginia State Police Association.
Speaking about SB95, Governor McDonnell remarked, “Virginia’s law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day they report for duty. It is their selfless service and heroism that helps to ensure Virginia’s streets and neighborhoods remain safe.
Understanding the dangers of their job, it is critical that we provide adequate support should they be injured in the line of duty. SB95 enables our state police to fully recover from line of duty incidents and have financial security while doing so. Our state police officers are some of the finest men and women serving Virginia. It is important we do everything we can to adequately provide for them in times of need and help them recover and return to work.”
“On behalf of the state police, I thank the patrons who enabled this legislation to become a reality for our sworn law enforcement personnel,” said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “As if being severely injured while protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth wasn’t sacrifice enough, too many of our members over the years have also had to endure the financial hardship of losing or taking a significant cut in pay while on temporary disability. This law will allow Virginia’s troopers and agents the time they need to fully recover from an injury without the fear and pressure of running out of time and a paycheck.”
Over a dozen State Police officers were injured this year in the Commonwealth while responding to winter storms.
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