Death of local law enforcement prompting policy changes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - While the community is still grieving from the loss of El Paso County Detective Micah Flick, the County is looking at adding policies to protect the survivors of County employees like him.

The state legislature is taking up a bill which would require the dependents of any state employee to receive benefits for an entire year following a work-related death. Currently, benefits are only extended for the rest of the month.   

This was proposed about a month after the loss of Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish and about five days after the loss of Adams County Deputy Heath Gumm. Now El Paso County is trying to do the same.   

"The County continues to be profoundly saddened by the terrible loss," said Dave Rose, Chief Public Information Officer for El Paso County. "This is the first time, of a tragedy if this type, since 1992. 

The loss of Detective Flick has prompted change.  

The El Paso County Policy Manual covers work-related injuries, but not work-related deaths. It's something they are hoping to add.  

"It would require at least a stamp of approval from the board of the County Commissioners," said Rose.

On top of the current $30,000 life insurance policy, the County and Board of Commissioners are looking to extend health and other benefits to families who lost a loved one on the job.  

"That would be an extension of medical benefits to the family as they were subscribed to, by the employee. That would be an extension for one year," Rose said. "We think that's kind of the least we can do, in many ways." 

Right now, the Flick family will lose their health benefits starting Mar. 1 because they only get until the end of the month.  

Rose said he believes it's possible to make the change so that there is no gap in coverage for the Flick family, meaning they need to work quickly.   

The money to help the surviving families will come from the County's personnel budget, but with work-related deaths being so rare, Dave Rose said the cost would be minimal.  

"We were profoundly hurt by this tragic loss, and I think we were profoundly moved Rachael's remarks on Saturday. That's a beautiful family, as a community, as a County, as individuals, I think we want to  continue to try and find support," Rose said.  

Donations to Flick's family can be made to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office Foundation

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