Bill: S.F. pays for funerals of police who die on duty

Supervisor says awareness of need for measure came in wake of Officer Birco’s death

San Francisco may begin paying for the funerals of police officers who die in the line of duty.

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin drafted legislation that allows The City’s director of human resources to authorize payments for some or all of the funeral costs of city employees who die while doing their job. It also authorizes the city controller to transfer money from “any legally available source” to cover the cost. The legislation was approved by the Rules Committee on Thursday, and the full Board of Supervisors will vote on it in two weeks.

Peskin drafted the legislation soon after the July death of Officer Nick Birco, 39, who died after his patrol car was struck by a vanload of robbery suspects fleeing from police.

“After the tragic murder of Officer Nick Birco it came to my attention that The City didn’t pay for the funeral costs of officers who die in the line of duty,” Peskin said. “And it seemed to be the least San Francisco government could do for somebody who makes the ultimate sacrifice for keeping the streets safe.” If approved, the legislation would be retroactive to July 1, allowing The City to pay for Birco’s funeral. The funeral cost is under $20,000.

Birco was the second officer to die in the line of duty this year. Sgt. Darryl Tsujimoto, 41, died of a heart attack in May during a training exercise.

“Funerals for active city employees who have died in the line of duty often become civic events, and by their size and public nature can impose extraordinary costs and hardships upon the families of the deceased, making it appropriate for The City to contribute to the cost of these events,” the legislation said.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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