Commissioners support awarding benefits to wounded deputy
MILTON — Santa Rosa County commissioners unanimously voted to support granting Deputy Jeremy Cassady benefits under the Public Safety Officers Benefit Act.
A Jay native, Cassady was 36 years old in 2010 when he was shot twice while on duty responding to a home invasion as an Escambia County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Cassady suffered critical injuries and lost both kidneys, resulting in the need for a kidney transplant. Cassady’s transplant has since failed. Two other deputies were injured but recovered.
Cassady reached out to fellow former deputy Commissioner Sam Parker for help.
Parker said that while workers' compensation did cover a lot of Cassady's surgeries and hospital stays, it did not cover family travel costs or missed work time.
“I want to be able to use my current capacity as a commissioner to be able to help Jeremy because he has been a longtime citizen of this county and he was wounded in the line of duty helping a neighboring county,” Parker said at the May 10 commissioners meeting.
In 2013 Cassady submitted an application to the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits Program of the U.S. Department of Justice which was initially denied. In 2014 he appealed but to date the hearing officer has yet to render a decision.
The Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program provides a death benefit to the eligible survivors of federal, state or local public safety officers whose death was the direct and proximate result of a personal injury sustained in the line of duty. The act also provides a disability benefit to eligible public safety officers who, like Cassady, have been permanently and totally disabled as the direct result of a catastrophic personal injury sustained in the line of duty.
The shooter, Philip Martin Monier of Hornlake, Miss., was sentenced to four life sentences in state prison.