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East Texas 100 Club expands eligibility for line-of-duty death benefits

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Updated: Jan. 8, 2020 at 12:54 PM CST
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas (KLTV) - A group that makes sure families are cared for when an officer is killed in the line of duty is expanding its death benefits to cover more than law enforcement officers.

On Jan. 1, the East Texas 100 Club board voted to make firefighters, jailers, detention officers and prison guards eligible for benevolent funds.

"A jailer has just as much risk every day at a sheriff’s office that a law enforcement officer does because if a weapon got introduced, or he gets attacked in the back of a jail cell because he’s trying to deal with a violent prisoner. Those individuals do die from time to time,” said Mount Pleasant Police Chief Wayne Isbell.

The East Texas 100 Club was created a year ago to ease the financial burden for families of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.

“If an officer died in the line of duty, we would have money where we could support the wife, the husband, the kids of the family. We have not had a death until recently on Dec. 31 when a Panola county deputy died.”

That deputy was Chris Dickerson, an eight-year veteran of the Panola County Sheriff’s Office. He was shot six times with a semiautomatic rifle while conducting a traffic stop on FM 10 near Carthage.

The late Panola County, Texas, sheriff's Deputy Chris Dickerson was a soldier and a public...
The late Panola County, Texas, sheriff's Deputy Chris Dickerson was a soldier and a public servant but, most importantly, a proud father of two young girls, his family says.(Source: Deputy Chris Dickerson's family)

“Based on support from our 20-county region, we had funds that came in, and we provided that family with benefits to meet their immediate needs,” Isbell said. “Of course the state government, federal government will kick in but that takes time to get those monies in for those families. We want to make sure that if there is a line-of-duty death that the family knows that they are taken care of and don’t have to worry about their financial situation.”

An official announcement of the expanded benefits will be made at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Tyler Police Department.

Click here to donate to the East Texas 100 Club. Isbell said any amount can be donated, but the club encourages donors to become members. Yearly memberships are $100 and lifetime memberships are $1,000. There is also a corporate membership for businesses

“We’ve been doing very well for the last year, but again, we need that public support by becoming members because we need that financial backing of our public to help public safety officials when there is a catastrophic injury or line-of-duty death," Isbell said. “One hundred percent of that money stays in our 20-county region."

Firefighters, jailers, detention officers and prison guards now covered.

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