Insurance extended for families of fallen officers

Published 1:46 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2012

By Stephen Dawkins | Assistant Managing Editor

Just days after her husband was killed in the line of duty, Tracy Newman received more bad news.

A letter informed Newman that insurance coverage would be dropped for her and her son, Jace, who was 4 at the time. Thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday, spouses and children of fallen peace officers might have more peace of mind in the future.

Newman’s husband, Josh, a Jemison police officer, died in an automobile accident while responding to a call in March 2011.

“It was right after it happened, and they let me know that coverage would be dropped at the end of the month,” Tracy Newman said.

Newman visited Jemison Police Chief Shane Fulmer, who discovered that, unlike many other states, Alabama indeed had no policy for continuation of health insurance policies of fallen peace officers who died in the line of duty.

Fulmer contacted state Rep. Kurt Wallace, who crafted the bill that was signed into law Wednesday.

The law provides a continuation of health insurance for the families of fallen police officers, firefighters and corrections officers–until a spouse remarries or takes a job that provides health insurance, and until a child reaches age 26.

“I just think it was the right thing to do,” Wallace said. “He died trying to protect us.”

Fulmer said the law will provide a sense of security for families of officers.

“It was tragic that it took the loss of Josh, but it’s such a huge step,” he said.

Tracy Newman agreed.

“For other women, this will be one thing they won’t have to worry about during such a tough time,” she said.