Pending Legislation Would Clarify that Fire Police are Eligible for PSOB

Fire police officers perform a vital public safety function, assisting emergency services agencies by performing traffic incident management duties at the scene of emergencies, drills, and planned special events. The Fire Police Fairness Act (S. 1315/H.R. 1348) establishes “fire police officer” as a new category of public safety officer defined as an individual who, “is serving in accordance with State or local law as an officially recognized or designated member of a legally organized public safety agency…” and “…provides scene security or directs traffic in response to any fire drill, fire call, or other fire, rescue, or police emergency; or at a planned special event.”

Firefighters or police officers killed while performing traffic incident management duties qualify for the Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB). However, because fire police are not specifically recognized in the portion of the U.S. Code that establishes PSOB, the Department of Justice has determined that they are not eligible. The Fire Police Fairness Act would fix this inequity.

The House version of the bill, H.R. 1348, was introduced in April 2011 by Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) and currently has 22 co-sponsors. Senate companion legislation, S. 1315, was introduced in June 2011 by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and has four co-sponsors as of now.

The NVFC actively supports the Fire Police Fairness Act. You can ask your U.S. Representative and Senators to co-sponsor H.R. 1348/S. 1315 using the NVFC’s Capwiz service. Just follow this link, review the draft message we’ve posted, enter your contact information and click ’Send Message.’ Capwiz will generate an e-mail to all of your federal elected officials asking them to support the Fire Police Fairness Act.