Proposed order would pay wages to spouses of first responders who died by suicide

CHICAGO — A new Chicago ordinance would pay the families of first responders who died by suicide for the first time.

Suicide was the second leading cause of death for law enforcement in 2021, only behind COVID-19, according to Blue HELP

Until the 19th Ward Ald. According to the ordinance proposed by Matt O’Shea, the city does not provide death benefits to spouses of first responders who die by suicide.

“There have been over 20 first responders in the past 5 years in CPD and CFD police, firefighters, paramedics who have died by suicide,” Ald. said O’Shea.

O’Shea said he met the wives of two officers who had recently died by suicide. Instead of filing a complaint, he said he wanted to help change the system.

“There is not much we can do about the pain and suffering or the terrible loss for the children and those left behind, but the government can step in and provide a modest financial benefit and that is what this is all about. “, did he declare.

Under the proposal, which has the unanimous support of the City Council and Mayor Lightfoot, Chicago would pay spouses a year’s salary and provide between $20,000 and $40,000 for education, health insurance and housing if the couple had children. The order would be retroactive to 2018.

In 2022, Chicago approved DPC funding to hire 11 additional mental health counselors, which would double the current number of employees.