State weighs changes in benefits for public safety employees injured in line of duty

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The line of duty led Suffolk police officer James Winslow into the woods in pursuit of a suspected car thief more than 2½ years ago.

Winslow, who had been on the police force for five years, emerged from the woods on a rescue squad stretcher and was taken by helicopter to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for immediate treatment of a life-threatening head injury from a severe beating.

“Without emergency brain surgery, he would not be alive today,” said his uncle, Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee

With his 29-year-old nephew’s ordeal in mind, Jones will take the lead in the next General Assembly session in seeking reforms to the state Line of Duty Act, including potential changes in benefits to public safety officers disabled in the line of duty, to control runaway costs for state and local governments.