WINCHESTER, Ky. (Sept. 15, 2014) – Gov. Steve Beshear today ceremonially signed four bills that support law enforcement in the commonwealth.
“Protecting our citizens is one of government’s most basic and crucial responsibilities, and I’m proud that we are able to provide additional support to the men and women who risk their lives daily to provide us with that safety and security,” Beshear said.
Beshear signed the following bills:
House Bill 364, sponsored by Rep. Denver “Denny” Butler of Louisville, allows retired police officers who are re-employed by a county sheriff’s office to continue to receive retirement and health insurance benefits through the Kentucky Retirement System. The officer would not be eligible to accrue additional retirement or health benefits through the sheriff’s office, and the employer will not be responsible for the payment of health insurance benefits.
“This legislation will be a big help for our sheriffs’ departments because it lets them increase the number of deputies without having to pay for extensive training and retirement costs,” Butler said. “Sheriffs have been looking for ways to economically add to their force, so now they have a way to do that.”
House Bill 179, sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Lee, gives law enforcement agencies greater flexibility when disposing of used service firearms, by allowing the officer to whom the firearm was issued the opportunity to purchase the weapon when he or she retires.
The bill also provides an additional option for an agency to sell surplus property, increasing the ease and likelihood that the agency will be able to divest itself of such property in a fiscally sound manner.
“I know there are many officers who would like to keep their firearm when they retire, because they have trained and are comfortable with it,” said Rep. Lee, of Elizabethtown. “I thought it just made sense to make this sale available to them should local law enforcement agencies want to do that for their retiring officers. I hope many take advantage of it.”
Beshear signed HB 281, which reduced the price of an initial Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police specialty license plate, and increased the amount donated per plate to the Kentucky State FOP Death Fund, from $5 to $10.
“I was proud to sponsor the legislation that is making it easier to support our local Fraternal Order of Police organizations through the purchase of their specialized license plate,” said Rep. Charles Miller, of Louisville. “I thought it was important to double the amount as well that is going into the FOP’s Death Benefit Fund. This is just the right thing to do, and the money is going to a good cause.”
And finally, Gov. Beshear signed SB 192, which allows special law enforcement officers who are employed by school districts to receive equipment from the Kentucky Law Enforcement Protection Program, administered by the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.
The law enables these officers to access critical equipment such as body armor and electronic-control devices.
“This is good legislation because it protects the people who are protecting our children,” said Sen. R.J. Palmer, of Winchester. “Our school law enforcement officers deserve to have the equipment necessary to address whatever situation arises so they can protect our children, teachers and staff — and themselves. The men and women this legislation impacts are committed, trained and sworn officers.”