Fifty-eight members of law enforcement have died in the line of duty in North Dakota, according to the state’s Officer Down Memorial Page. Now, many of those family members will have one less bill to worry about.
Gov. Doug Burgum signed into law a bill covering health insurance costs for family of law enforcement members who die in the line of duty. Several police officers attended the bill signing, as well as Mandy Holte, whose husband, Grand Forks Police Officer Cody Holte, was killed last May.
The law requires the state retirement system to offer insurance at no cost to the surviving spouse and dependents of an emergency responder — including peace officers, correctional facility staff, EMS personnel and firefighters.
“Part of my swearing-in ceremony for new officers is I always welcome the spouses to pin their new officer, and I welcome them into the law enforcement family,” Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson said. “I also tell them I can’t promise I’m going to keep your family member out of harm’s way, but what I can promise is they’ll be well-lead, well-trained, well-equipped, and we will take care of that family no matter what.”
The law applies retroactively, so coverage will be offered to those who had a family member die as late as 2010.