Trooper Lambert CeremonySPRINGFIELD – The burial benefit for law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty would be increased under a proposal by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that passed the Senate recently.

“No family of a fallen officer or firefighter should have to worry about not being able to afford to bury their loved one,” Morrison said. “These individuals selflessly dedicated their lives in the protection of our neighbors and communities, and this is the least we as a state can do to honor their sacrifice.”

Currently, the state burial benefit for firefighters, State Police officers or local law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty is $10,000. Morrison’s plan – contained in House Bill 2028 – would increase that benefit to $20,000, acknowledging the ever-increasing costs associated with burials. Neither the benefit for State Police officers nor the benefit for local law enforcement officers and firefighters has been raised since its creation in the late 1990s.

Morrison introduced the plan after the death of Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert, a Highland Park resident who was assisting in a traffic accident on the Tri-State Tollway in January when he was struck by a speeding motorist and killed.

“The grieving families of our fallen heroes should not have to endure the additional stress and worry of not knowing if they will be able to afford burial costs for their lost loved ones,” stated Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly. “During a time of loss, grief, and tragedy, the families of fallen officers and firefighters who dedicated their lives to protecting others, and who died while serving the members of our communities, should be able to focus on grieving the loss of their loved ones,” he concluded.

House Bill 2028 passed the Senate without opposition on May 16 and will now head to the governor’s office for his approval.

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