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Maine Bill Would Make Some Police Suicides Duty Deaths

The public safety committee voted unanimously Wednesday to send L.D. 439, sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Salisbury, D-Westbrook, to the full legislature.

A Maine legislative committee on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would give public safety leaders latitude to classify first responder suicides as deaths in the line of duty. The measure would make victims’ families eligible for a $100,000 survivors benefit.

“We need to do a better job of taking care of our public safety providers and their mental health,” Northeast Mobile Health Services COO Rick Petrie told the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety at a public hearing last week. “When we fail, we need to recognize that their death is as much a line of duty death as getting killed in an accident or getting shot or stabbed,” the Portland Press Herald reports.

Nine first responders in Maine have taken their own lives since 2020, when the state began tracking that data, according to Maine EMS Director Sam Hurley.

The public safety committee voted unanimously Wednesday to send L.D. 439, sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Salisbury, D-Westbrook, to the full legislature.


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