March 7, 2017
PIERRE, S.D. – What needs to be done following the death of a public safety officer is the focus of a special training being held this weekend in Pierre.
The South Dakota Fire Marshal’s Office is hosting the Line-of-Duty Death Local Assistance State Team (LAST) Training Friday and Saturday at the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center in Pierre. The program is put on by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
The two-day event involves training and a table top exercise on Saturday. Anybody involved in the management of and recovery efforts following a line-of-duty death of a public safety officer is invited to attend.
“Having a colleague die in the line of duty is not something that fire departments, law enforcement agencies or EMS units want to think about,” says State Fire Marshal Paul Merriman. “How an agency handles a line-of-duty death can impact the family, the agency and the community. If not handled correctly, there can be additional pain and heartache.”
The course, done through a collaborative effort with the U.S. Department of Justice, provides the training needed to help establish state and regional (LAST) teams. Merriman says the LAST Teams would be available to help an agency or department handle the death of an officer in the line of duty.
“The primary objective of the LAST team is to provide assistance and comfort to the family and department impacted by such a tragic event,” he says. “There are a lot of details that need to be completed, such as the filing for federal, state and local benefits. The LAST teams can help with those arrangements.”
Course instructor is Ian Bennett, fire chief of the Harrisonburg Fire Department in Harrisonburg, VA.
There is no cost to attend the course.
Participants can register online at: https://reg.abcsignup.com/view/view_month.aspx?as=14&wp=27&aid=SDFA.
For more information, contact Deputy Fire Marshal Mike Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.