Putnam County could soon offer a more substantial life insurance policy for law enforcement and emergency personnel.
“With all the deaths of law enforcement, paramedics and emergency personnel we have been seeing in the news lately, it made me take a hard look at what we do for ours in case of a line of duty death,” said County Mayor Randy Porter.
In just the past four months in Tennessee, two police officers and one paramedic have been killed in job-related incidents. A Sullivan County deputy was shot while doing a welfare check at a home in Blountville, a Chattanooga police officer was hit by a car during a traffic stop, and a west Tennessee paramedic died in Nashville when the ambulance he was in hydroplaned and struck a wall.
“The devastation a death like this would cause to the employee’s family would be unbelievable,” Porter said.
He said the county currently provides a $15,000 life insurance policy on each county employee, but said he would like to increase that.
“I am proposing we add a $250,000 life policy to all our full-time sheriff, EMS, fire and EMA department personnel,” he said. “The cost to do this is $19,090 per year to cover those 270 employees, which I think is very reasonable for what it would provide for an employee’s family.”
He said the annual cost would come from the county’s self-insurance fund.
The proposal will be discussed by the Fiscal Review Committee when it meets Monday.
The committee will also talk about the possibility of having the county self-fund its medical insurance for employees.
“With the continual increase in medical insurance costs, I have been looking at the county going back to being self-funded on our medical insurance the way we are on all our other county insurance,” Porter said. “The savings could be large.”
Porter said he would give commissioners an overview of the options at this month’s meeting and bring the proposal back for a vote next month, once he has “final numbers.”
The committee meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the county courthouse.