The Worcester, MA, city council unanimously approved a petition to support the family of a Worcester police officer who drowned while attempting to rescue three teen swimmers.
"A police officer gave up his life and we have to make sure his wife and his kids are taken care of. That's our responsibility as a community, as a city family," Councilor Morris Bergman said. "We certainly want to make sure that the city where Officer Familia served and sacrificed his life is participating and leading the effort."
Under current state law, the wife and two children of fallen Worcester Police Officer Enmanuel "Manny" Familia are not entitled to his full pension because drowning is not a line of duty death, Yahoo reports.
Worchester City Council on Tuesday night unanimously signed off on a change granting Familia’s wife access to those benefits after her husband’s death earlier this month, WCVB reported. The petition, proposed by Bergman, is now heading to state lawmakers, WBZ-TV reported.
Familia, a 38-year-old officer who had worked for the Worcester Police Department for five years, died on June 4 while responding to a 911 call around 1:30 p.m. about three teenagers screaming for help and struggling to stay above water at Green Hill Pond, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported.
Last week, state Rep. Tim Whelan filed a state budget amendment that adds a clause related to pensions for the spouses of police, firefighters and corrections officers who die in the line of duty as the result of an accident while attempting to rescue a member of the public or emergency personnel.
The amendment was co-sponsored by the Worcester delegation, several Central Massachusetts representatives and others with law enforcement backgrounds.