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812-946-HURT (4878)

Honored law enforcement officer's family awarded benefits

Law enforcement officers and their families, facing the consequences of a fatal or personal injury, must often confront legal and bureaucratic obstacles when they seek workers' compensation or other funds that were established to compensate victims and their families. Thirteen years after a fatal shooting, a family of a Monroe County corrections officer was finally awarded $275,000 from a federal fund last month.

Officer Bill Brand was fatally shot after he was driving home from working at the county prison on Feb. 8, 2005. Over many years, his wife sought recognition from federal and state agencies that her husband was killed in the line of duty by a former inmate who was acting on his hatred of law enforcement officers.

She filed a wrongful death against the alleged shooter in Feb. 2007. He was ultimately convicted of murder in 2009 for the shooting and was sentenced to a 65-year prison term.

The Monroe County Sheriff executed the documents for approval of death benefits in 2015. He also sought approval of family benefits provided though Indiana's workers' compensation and the state's pension and disability fund for police officers and firefighters.

The federal Public Safety Officer Benefits program finally granted $275,000 to the officer's widow and son in late June this year. Their attorney said that this grant will pay for educational assistance for the officer's family.

This belated financial award was not the only award. Sgt. Brand's name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the nation's capital in May 2017. He was also recognized with other county and Bloomington law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty during a Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony earlier this year.

In addition to filing a lawsuit, an attorney can help victims and their families seek compensation for injuries or wrongful death from appropriate government programs. They can help assure that arguments, documents and evidence is presented to protect these rights.

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