WASHINGTON— The families of federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty will be able to receive relocation assistance through legislation passed by Congress Tuesday.
The Special Agent Samuel Hicks Families of Fallen Heroes Act, H.R. 2711, passed the House on a vote of 416–0 after passing the Senate on May 14.
The Act allows federal law enforcement agencies to assist families of law enforcement officers killed on the job with relocation costs if they want to move from a posting back to their home communities.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., along with Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia Chairman Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii., and Ranking Member George Voinovich, R-Ohio., introduced the Senate version of the bill last year.
“Law enforcers often lay down their lives to protect the rest of the society,” Lieberman said. “The assistance that would be made available through this legislation to their surviving families is but a nominal token of our appreciation for their courageous commitment to their jobs. The FBI relocated Special Agent Hicks and his family from Baltimore to Pittsburgh and paid to move them there. But when Special Agent Hicks was killed, the FBI was legally barred from paying to move his wife and young son back to their home base in Baltimore. This is a humanitarian bill that will cost very little, but will mean the world to the survivors of those men and women protecting us on the frontlines every day.”
Collins said: “The men and women of law enforcement who make the ultimate sacrifice to their country should have the peace of mind to know that their families will be taken care of in the event of such a tragedy. Our legislation will ensure that our federal law enforcement officers’ families are provided for in return for the sacrifices that these federal employees face every day.”
“This bill authorizes agencies to pay relocation costs for the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, because helping the survivors of our fallen heroes is the right thing to do,” said Akaka. “This is a tribute to Federal employees who make the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.”
Voinovich said: “Federal law enforcement officials at certain agencies are faced with constant travel and relocation, a taxing aspect of their jobs. In the event of tragedies, grieving families deserve our help to relocate closer to their homes and loved ones. This legislation fills a critical void, and I look forward to its prompt enactment.”
Special Agent Sam Hicks, for whom the legislation is named, was fatally shot while executing a federal search warrant on a drug distribution ring. Because the FBI was barred from assisting with his family’s moving costs, the FBI Agents Association stepped in to help.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the bill last December, with an amendment sponsored by Lieberman and Collins that ensured Customs and Border Protection officers were covered by the legislation.