The mental and emotional trauma officers suffer on the job will be paid under Workman’s Compensation under a bill a Senate committee unanimously passed Wednesday. Senator Steve Smith’s bill ,S-B 1443, covers cops diagnosed with P-T-S-D. Under current Arizona law,

Workman’s Comp passes on mental illness because it’s an injury that can’t be physically measured. But those testifying for the bill say it’s a real trauma manifesting itself in behavior such as depression and substance abuse.

Rebecca Tiger, whose ex- husband, Officer Craig Tiger,  diagnosed with P-T-S-D, says then Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia fired Tiger for an off-duty D-U-I ignoring his P-T-S-D and Tiger later committed suicide.  The termination cut off the family from survivor benefits for his on- duty injury. Rebecca says Officer Tiger’s life went downhill after fatally shooting a baseball bat-wielding suspect in 2012.

Rebecca read Officer Tiger’s bitter last words in a letter to the committee, explaining how Tiger was plagued with nightmares following the shooting and his only relief was alcohol. Heavy drinking led to his firing after he was arrested for D-U-I. That letter also lashed out at Chief Garcia and the City of Phoenix for not “taking care of him”.

The bill’s next stop is the Senate Rules Committee.

–Barbara Villa