Drownings Don't Qualify as Line-of-Duty Deaths in Mass.: Worcester Leaders Push for Law Change

Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia died trying to save a teenager, but because Massachusetts law does not consider drownings to be line-of-duty deaths, his widow would not be able to receive his full pension

NBC Universal, Inc.

City leaders in Worcester are pushing for a Massachusetts law to be changed after the drowning of a police officer who tried to save a teenager.

Manny Familia died on June 4 after responding to the pond at Green Hill Park, where a teen had gone into the water. Fourteen-year-old Troy Love died, as well.

But due to a loophole in the state's pension law, drowning does not qualify as a line-of-duty death, meaning Familia's widow would not be able to receive his full pension.

The Worcester City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a petition showing their support to change the law.

"There's no replacing a life, but a certain reality that you need to financially move forward," said City Councilor Morris Bergman. "I think that's what we're trying to do here, is respect the fact that one of our own, city family, a police officer, gave up his life, and we have to make sure his wife and kids are taken care of.”

The council also passed an order requiring safety flotation devices at each of the city's bodies of water.

Contact Us