Some council members have questions about line-of-duty death benefits

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A council member told members of the administration that the city of Memphis needs to avoid picking and choosing who receives the line-of-duty death benefit when their family member is killed in the line of duty.

Some council members said when an employee is killed in the line of duty, their loved ones should be compensated fairly.

Death benefits created much discussion during a Memphis City Council committee meeting Tuesday morning; the conversation got quite heated at times.

City leaders talked about making some changes to the way the city distributes death benefits to the families of city workers killed in the line of duty.

"What we found is the city of Memphis has different categories who receives the benefit in the event that one of our employees is killed in the line of duty," council member Harold Collins said.

"As you stated, Officer Sean Bolton, who was the last individual who died in the line of duty, this benefit did not pay out upon his death because Officer Bolton did not have a legal spouse and Officer Bolton did not have minor children," human resources director Quintin Robinson said.

The policy the city uses now for a city worker killed in the line of duty guarantees death benefits to spouses and minor children.

Collins says it is unfair to limit who is compensated.

"Who's to say that that employee is not taking care of a parent or grandparent or a disabled sibling or sibling, and so for the administration to make that determination is unacceptable, and that's why three insurance companies told them that this was discriminatory," he said.

Robinson said he's willing to hear any suggestions from the City Council about this topic.

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