Sheriff's Deputy In Houston Killed 4 Days Before New Texas Death Benefit Went Into Effect: New State Law Just Enacted Doubles Death Benefit From $250K to $500K

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President Barack Obama is denouncing violence against police officers following the killing of a Houston-area sheriff's deputy who was ambushed at a gas station; Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth was shot 15 times and killed Friday, just four days before the Texas death benefit for law enforcement officers doubled. The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation explains Law Enforcement Death Benefits and endorses Texas HB1278 for increasing the Texas state death benefit.

Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth

“When something unthinkable happens to public servants who dedicate their lives to ensuring the public’s safety, we should be there for their survivors. Rodney Anderson, Texas House District 105 State Representative and Joint Author of H.B. No. 1278

President Barack Obama is denouncing violence against police officers following the killing of a Houston-area sheriff's deputy who was ambushed at a gas station just days before the Texas Death Benefit for Law Enforcement officers doubled from $250,000 to $500,000, now the largest death benefit in the United States.

Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, a 10-year veteran, was killed about 8:20 p.m. Friday. He was ambushed and fatally shot while pumping gas in Cypress, Texas. Deputy Darren Goforth had two kids with his wife, a 12-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. In a cazy twist of fate, Tuesday, Texas H.B. No. 1278 went into effect doubling the death benefit for first responders killed in the line of duty in Texas.

Effective 1 September 2015, the State of Texas has increased the State Death Benefit to the survivors of certain law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other public employees killed in the line of duty from $250,000 to $500,000.

“When something unthinkable happens to public servants who dedicate their lives to ensuring the public’s safety, we should be there for their survivors. Increasing the payment from the state to the family of the fallen goes a long way toward getting them back on their feet during a time of incredible grief, and it proves that Texas values their sacrifice,” said Rodney Anderson, Texas House District 105 State Representative and Joint Author of H.B. No. 1278.

The new Texas law provides that if there is an eligible surviving spouse, the state shall pay $500,000 to the eligible surviving spouse. If there is no eligible surviving spouse, the state shall pay $500,000 in equal shares to surviving children. If there is no eligible surviving spouse or child, the state shall pay $500,000 in equal shares to surviving parents.

“It has been a sad week for not only Harris County, but for all the men and women in Law Enforcement. Deputy Darren Goforth was a 10 year veteran and he leaves behind a family who loves him dearly, we mourn his tragic death and we salute his 10 years of service to his community." Said David Blanchard, President & CEO of The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation.

The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation is the national advocacy group for the families and departments of officers killed in the line of duty, providing oversight and guidance in obtaining all of the Federal and State Statutory Benefits the survivors are entitled to, and leads the way in casualty planning awareness and training to ensure that departments everywhere are prepared in advance of an officers death.

"Sadly, the lump sum survivors’ benefit has not increased in more than a decade, and the monthly benefit for surviving children has not increased in about four decades, but some have called for reasonable increases in benefits to meet the rising cost of inflation for the families of those public servants who sacrificed their lives serving their communities. So, today was great day for first responders in the State of Texas. Many states provide no lump sum death benefits to the survivors. Texas now leads the Nation in financial support for survivors of officers killed in the line of duty," said Blanchard.

Texas H.B. No. 1278, the legislation increasing the death benefit from $250,000 to $500,000, was passed by the Texas House on May 12, 2015, it was passed by the Texas Senate on May 26, 2015, and the law took effect September 1, 2015, four days after Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth was killed in the line of duty without provocation.

About The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation
The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation is a national tax exempt organization operating under Section 501(c) (3) I.R.C. For more information on the Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation please visit: http://www.bohmf.org

A large part of the Badge of Honor Memorial Foundations mission is accomplished through the education of law enforcement organizations nationwide and is proud to have developed a complete Casualty Assistance Training Guide offered online to all departments who need immediate assistance. This guide is also sent to most all departments in the case of an officer’s death.

The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation has also developed a nationwide on site Casualty Assistance Training Program used in many states, and thanks in large part to a grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, some departments are now using this training as annual continuing education for their command staff. The grant from the Motorola Solutions Foundation has helped the BOHMF to expand this educational mission and to conduct more on-site training of law enforcement departments and associations nationwide.

The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation also has a unique relationship with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program which is the agency who provides federal death and education benefits to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders, and disability benefits to officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty. The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation is proud to be one of only four organizations listed on the Department of Justice website as a resource.

The PSOB Office at the Bureau of Justice Assistance reviews the nearly 700 claims submitted each year on behalf of America’s fallen and catastrophically disabled public safety heroes and their loved ones. As of August of 2015, the federal death benefit is $339,310.

The PSOB Office works with national-level organizations like the Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation to provide visibility and emotional support to the families and coworkers of officers killed in the line of duty. The Department of Justice PSOB recognizes on their website that the Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation fulfills three major functions for families and departments of peace officers killed in the line of duty: (1) BOHMF assists surviving families in obtaining all federal and state benefits available to them; (2) BOHMF provides each family with a memorial statue as a lasting symbol of recognition for the life of service the officer courageously gave; and (3) BOHMF helps educate police organizations in casualty assistance planning.

To request an interview with Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation leadership including President and CEO David Blanchard or Chief Gary Stiles, Badge of Honor Chairman, and current Chief of Police for the Fulton County GA Police Department, contact Billy MacLeod, Director of Media Relations. Interviews are currently being scheduled through Friday September 4th.

State Representative Rodney Anderson was a primary sponsor of HB 1278. He represents HD105 for the Irving & Grand Prairie Texas area and his contact email is: Rodney.Anderson(at)house(dot)state.tx.us.

To make a secure tax deductible donation to BOHMF to support our mission helping law enforcement, visit this link Network for Good...

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Billy MacLeod

David Blanchard
The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation

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