If You Have Auxiliary Officers, You Must Comply With This New Law

Each county, municipal corporation, township, township police district, and joint police district with a police or sheriff’s department that employs volunteer peace officers, must comply with newly created R.C. Chapter 143, and quickly. The General Assembly recently established the Volunteer Peace Officers’ Dependents Fund (Fund). The Fund was established to assist dependents of volunteer peace officers killed in the line of duty and to assist volunteer peace officers that become totally and permanently disabled as a result of a line of duty injury. As explained in R.C. 143.02, every political subdivision that employs volunteer peace officers (i.e., auxiliary officers) must establish a board to administer claims for the benefits from the Fund. Each board must have the following members: two members elected by the legislative authority that employs the volunteer peace officer; two members elected by the volunteer peace officers; and one member elected by the other four members (and this cannot be a public employee, member of the legislative authority, or peace office for that department, but must be a resident registered to vote in that area). One of the five elected board members must be identified as a chairperson and another as the secretary by the members of the board. Board members must be named by April 22, 2016. The board secretary must provide certain information to the director of commerce, including an initial premium of $300-$500, which is based on the member’s assessed property valuation See R.C. 143.03 and R.C. 143.06. One last item, make certain to carefully docket the election for your 2017 board. R.C. 143.02(C) has very specific deadlines and criteria for next year’s election. For a complete explanation of the Fund, your board’s duty when determining the validity of a claim, or what happens if you fail to pay the premium, please review R.C. Chapter 143.