New state bill pays health care for fallen officers' families, but too late for Sgt. Steil's

Among those who lost their health care coverage in the Detroit bankruptcy were the families of cops killed in the line of duty.

Families of cops like Sgt. Ken Steil who succumbed, last Saturday, to gunshot wounds suffered on the job.

"They go out there every day to protect our families and other people's families," said Mark Young, president of the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association. "And they deserve for their family to be protected. The men and women that I represent, don't mind putting it all on the line. All they are asking for is that their families are provided for, if they should fall in the line of duty."

To correct this disrespect for the families of fallen officers, the Michigan State Senate passed a bill 500 days ago reinstating the health benefits. But House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) withheld a vote on the measure until last week - after Sgt. Steil was shot.

The final version passed Tuesday but too late for the family of Steil. That bill which awaits the governor's signature, is not retroactive and therefore will not include Steil's family.

"Yes it is an insult," Young said. "It is a disservice to the people we count on to be the first responders that are ultimately going to be the front line of defense for foreign, domestic or a catastrophic event. It is an insult.

So, the widow and children of Steil are out in the cold and to make matters worse, the bill only covers future families for five years.

"Let me tell you something, this guy stepped up for this community," Young said. " ... I love guys like that. I love them, because I'm going to tell you something - in order for this city to turn around, to reach its true potential, it's going to take Ken Steil and people like him. And if we don't support the people like him, you're not going to get people like him."

It wouldn't be difficult to take care of Sgt. Ken Steil's family. A simple legislative action introduced by the governor, the speaker of the house, the mayor or city council president. But as of now, none of the representatives have called. I hope they are watching so we can get together and do the right thing. 


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