New state law brings good news for West Fargo Police Officer who suffered heart attack while on the job

(Fargo, ND) -- Governor Doug Burgum signed a bill Monday to expand workers' compensation coverage for for law enforcement officers and firefighters. 

"You may think that this is not that significant but we all know that when you've got denied coverage for your insurance related to your work, that that could mean hardships, financial hardships because of the cost of healthcare for one of these events could easily run over $100 thousand," said Governor Burgum. 

Previously, North Dakota law enforcement officers and firefighters had to serve in the state for a minimum of 5 years to become eligible for workers' compensation benefits in the event they suffered a cardiac event while on the job. Now House Bill 1279 allows service performed in other states, to count toward that 5 year minimum. The legislation was prompted by a case involving West Fargo Police Officer Tim Brown. Brown suffered a heart attack in November, 2021 while booking two women into the Cass County Jail. He was denied workers' compensation benefits because he had been working in the state for less than one year.

Brown will now receive the benefits because the new law is retroactive.