Is a police officer who suffered a heart attack considered ''killed in the line of duty''?
In determining whether an officer was "killed in the line of duty" when the fatal injury suffered was a heart attack, Illinois Court stated in the case of In re Application of Smith (1990), 43 Ill. Ct. Cl. 183, at page 186:
"Cases involving heart attacks are among the most difficult presented to this Court.
The Court recognizes that police work involves stress and strain which can lead to heart attacks. In deciding whether an award should be granted an effort is made to determine whether the activities the decedent was performing precipitated the heart attack.
In cases where a decedent is performing strenuous physical activities at the time the attack is suffered the Court has consistently granted awards.
However, in cases where the decedent was not performing strenuous physical activities when the heart attack was suffered the Court must closely examine whether the circumstances surrounding the decedent's performance of duties prior to the time the fatal heart attack was suffered may have precipitated the attack."
Section 2(e) of the Law Enforcement Officers, Civil Defense Workers, Civil Air Patrol Members, Paramedics, Firemen and State Employees Compensation Act provides, in relevant part:
"(e) 'killed in the line of duty' means losing one's life as a result of injury received in the active performance of duties as a law enforcement officer, civil defense worker, civil air patrol member, paramedic or fireman if the death occurs within one year from the date the injury was received and if that injury arose from violence or other accidental cause."