Public Safety Insurance Fund Program Luncheon Helps Families of Fallen Officers Financially

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By Catalina Trivino

Businesses across central Alabama are teaming up to protect the ones who protect us all -- and they're doing that by setting up funds for families of fallen officers and firefighters.

I'm here at the RSA tower's activities center off Dexter Avenue. It's where the Public Safety Insurance Fund program held it's annual luncheon for all the business who donate to help families of these officers and firefighters.  But with the death of an officer last week, officials say they're going straight to work.

What happens to firefighters who who risk their lives to save people from a burning home? Or officers, like Rian Rider with the Montgomery Police Department, who lost his life last week while saving his drowning niece?

"We can't possibly compensate for the loss of income for a family for a lifetime... That would be difficult. But I think we should at least still try," Said Auburn basketball coach, Bruce Pearl, who was the guest speaker at the Public Safety Insurance Fund luncheon.

Represented were a group of 150 businesses, including Alabama News Network, that donate money to provide free life and accidental death insurance policies for nearly two thousand officers and firefighters in the River region.

Grant Sullivan is one of the founders of the program.. he says the recent loss of Rider shows exactly why the PSIF was founded.

"It doesn't matter how the officer dies, it's $10,000 of life insurance. If the officer dies in an off-duty accident the family gets another $50,000 so if Rian Rider died from drowning, that's an accident. His family will get $60,000," Said Sullivan.

Rider's family is just one of 17 officers getting financial help since the fund was set up in 2002. Montgomery interim police chief, John Brown, worked along side Rider for years and says having this fund to help the family is another way to re-assure them the community is behind them during this hard time.

"He gave. So now when his family needed someone to give, or that was a sitauation where someone could give or an organization that could give, they gave to the Rider family," Said Chief Brown.

In 12 years, PSIF has expanded to more agencies in our area. Now, the Montgomery, Elmore, and Autauga county fire departments, police departments, and sheriff's offices, as well as state troopers are all included in getting help from PSIF.

You don't have to be a business to help with donations. You can do that by emailing Grant Sullivan at grant@sullivanwills.com