Surviving spouses of police officers will continue to receive benefits if they remarry. The Little Rock Board of Directors passed a resolution Tuesday night approving the survivor benefits pay.
Pegie Spencer lost her husband 2 years ago. William “Bill” Spencer spent 27 years as a policeman. “He was a very caring , loving, willing person, and he always wanted to help people.”
She says the life of a police officer’s family isn’t easy, and becomes an even bigger burden when that officer dies. That’s why she wanted to be at the Little Rock Board of Directors meeting Tuesday night. She says she is a representative of other widows who she believes deserve to continue receiving benefits, even as they try to move on with their lives.
Pegie says her husband dedicated his life to serving others, and would want her as well as other widows to continue receiving benefits earned while on the job, even if those widows chose to remarry. The Little Rock Board of Directors voted to make sure that happens. It’s been a state law since 2003, and the Policemen’s Pension Board approved continuing funds to those survivors left to carry on living without their loved one.
Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore says the board believes it’s the right thing to do.
Pegie says it wasn’t easy watching her husband leave for work every day, not knowing if he would come home at night. “I would watch him put on his bullet proof vest and I would watch him walk out the door and I would think this may be the last time I ever see him.”
She says being a widow is a huge responsibility that doesn’t go away even after you remarry. “Those memories are there forever with you and your kids.”
When the Little Rock Board of Directors set this resolution on the agenda last week, many people commented on the web and on Facebook disagreeing with the continuation of surviving spouses benefits who choose to remarry. Pegie says those people don’t understand what it’s like to lose someone in the line of duty. “There are all kinds of ways they can risk and lose their lives, so those things can’t be minimized.”
The resolution passed by the Little Rock Board of Directors is not an increase in cost, but a continuation of funds already being paid. The issue is being addressed because a widow expressed interest in remarrying and requested approval of the resolution.