State board approves survivor benefit money for families of fallen officers

State board approves survivor benefit money for families of fallen officers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Just 10 days after three officers were killed, the state of Louisiana has moved things along to make sure their families receive what the state owes them according to Louisiana law.

The Louisiana Law Enforcement Officers and Firemen's Survivor Benefit Review Board is made of four people who are responsible for deciding whether or not the families of fallen officers qualify to get the money set aside if an officer or firefighter dies in the line of duty.

On Wednesday, they reviewed the cases of Baton Rouge Police Officers Matthew Gerald and Montrell Jackson along with East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputy Brad Garafola. All three law enforcement officers were killed during an ambush shooting on July 17.

Motions were made and seconded for each officers before being granted one by one.

"One of the things we wanted to do was to make sure that bureaucracy didn't get in the way of getting benefits to these families," said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

Landry sent three letters last week to the police chief and sheriff requesting specific documents so they could get the ball rolling on getting the money to the families.

Per Louisiana law, any officer or fireman killed in the line of duty, "the sum of $250,000 shall be paid to the surviving spouse" on top of that "the sum of $25,000 shall be paid for each of the dependent children."

Plus, another law passed provides scholarships for all of the officers' children. If they decide to go to a public university in Louisiana, the state would pick up the cost.

"This is the first time that I have been on the board that we had three loss of lives in a single incident. So it was different and I gotta to tell you, I feel much more hurt as I sat there," said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.

Browning said the money is only a small gesture from the state when in reality "these funds are nothing. I know if that was my family, they would say give the money, take the money, we don't want the money. We want our dad back. We want our husband back."

Once all the necessary paperwork is done, the state will begin distributing the money.

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.