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Jan 13, 2012 4:57 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

LaValle Proposes Bill To Boost Scholarships For Children Of Fallen Police, Firefighters

Jan 17, 2012 2:03 PM

The children of police officers, peace officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty would be eligible for help in paying for college if legislation introduced by State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle is approved.

Under the bill, the students would receive an amount equal to the undergraduate tuition for the State University of New York for in-state residents, including the cost of room and board. The funds would be available for four or five academic years, depending in the program of study. The money would be applicable only at SUNY schools.

According to Mr. LaValle’s office, scholarships could range from about $15,000 to $18,000. Current state law offers only $450 to children who have lost a parent in the line of duty.

“This show of financial support will in no way compensate for a family’s loss,” the senator said in a statement. “Rather, it represents the appreciation, respect and support of a grateful citizenry.”

Mr. LaValle said last week that he thinks the bill has a good chance of being approved, despite the economic climate in Albany.

“The legislature historically has been responsive to ensuring that uniformed officers—whether they be police officers, firefighter officers or correction officers—that if they die in the line of duty, their children are taken care of,” he said. Not many cases per year would be expected, he added.

Mr. LaValle said the inspiration for the legislation was inspired by the death of New York Police Department Officer Peter J. Figoski, a 47-year-old West Babylon resident who was killed last month when a robbery suspect shot him in the face in Cypress Hill, Brooklyn. Officer Figoski had four daughters, two in upstate colleges and two in high school.

The bill, however, would not be retroactive, and volunteer firefighters are also included in the bill.

When asked about the bill, local officers and firefighters were receptive to the idea.

“I’d be in 100-percent support of it,” said Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr.

“It sounds like a great idea,” said North Sea Fire Department Chief Joseph “Rocky” Ambrose, “because it’s a loss of paid income, half the family’s income, and the price of tuition is very high.”

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Why not commercial fishermen? The job is more dangerous and the pay and benefits are considerably less. When are these politicians going to stop pandering to special interest groups and stop giving away the public store? You already pay salary and/or retirement benefits for three cops for every one still on the job and, with binding arbitration, the leap frogging of contracts is breaking the bank. When is the public going to wake up to one of the real reasons your property taxes are more than ...more
By Doug Penny (64), Lexington, Virginia on Jan 17, 12 2:41 PM
Do fisherman fish to save lives or is it a commercial venture? Your argument is childish and simplistic.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Jan 17, 12 6:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Last I heard the police and firemen get paid to work like everyone else. Why not universallly apply this Legislation. Why are their lives and family worth more than anyone else.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Jan 17, 12 5:31 PM
2 members liked this comment
Are you kidding? Do you put your life on the line to save others? Or do you just sit around stewing in your own resentment? You and the poster above should just put "do not save" signs on your homes and cars.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Jan 17, 12 6:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
They choose to get paid to do this? Thousands take civil service test for job? They are lucky to be employed! Window washers on sky scrappers put lives on line. Give me a break.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Jan 17, 12 9:25 PM
How clueless are you, dude! A window washer's job is dangerous, yes, but he is not in danger because he is trying to save the lives of others! Your resentment is clouding your thinking.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Jan 18, 12 8:00 AM
1 member liked this comment
"Died in the line of duty" is not retirement by choice. Thank you for Senator LaValle for introducing this bill.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 17, 12 5:39 PM
but what about all the other children who have lost a parent? so many get nothing and they deserve help as much as anyone else.
By local (106), north sea on Jan 17, 12 9:07 PM
Every job that adds something to the life of another has value. In a capitalistic society, the amount of that value, unfortunately, is often measured in dollars. My point about this legislation was not that it values one job over another or one life over another but that it panders to a special interest group in a political setting. If this benefit is so worthwhile, it should be negotiated into a collective bargaining agreement.
By Doug Penny (64), Lexington, Virginia on Jan 18, 12 6:58 AM
You're just peed off because it is not your special interest group that is being "pandered" to
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Jan 18, 12 8:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Police and fireman are paid to rescue people, not paid to die while rescueing people. Fishing and window cleaning may be more dangerous but quite often the person has the opprtunity to get themselves out of harms way prior to an accident. Police and fireman run in to harms way while others are running away. The is no "time out" during an emergency.
By Spinny OHO (94), Speonk on Jan 18, 12 11:44 AM
K P JC did you fail the psychological or the background investigation?? Sounds like sour grapes...

As for you Doug stick to labor negotiations in your "Right To Work" State.

Never Forget 343-23-37 Thank god for the Finest and Bravest who run to while others run from...
By Finley (3), East Hampton on Jan 18, 12 4:57 PM
1 member liked this comment