Death benefits denied to widow of Georgia law enforcement officer

Sgt. Barry Henderson's name is engraved on the fallen officers wall in Forsyth, as well as the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington for those who have died in the line of duty.

Sgt.  Henderson worked for the Polk County Sheriff's Office for 27 years. He died of complications from COVID in 2021.  His wife, Chrisy, says he contracted it while at a training seminar for work in Forsyth.  

But Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Administrative Services denied benefits to his wife.

"Everyone has paid and acknowledged him to be an officer fallen in the line of duty, even the governor, and the state of Georgia until it comes time to pay death benefits," said Wright Gammon, attorney for Chrisy Henderson.

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Sgt. Barry Henderson

From: Supplied

The department says there's no proof Sgt. Henderson contracted COVID while in training.

"What are you going to do take a chisel and drive down to Forsyth and chisel his name off the wall?" said Gammon.

The Georgia Department of Administrative Services gave a statement to FOX 5.

"We at the Georgia department of administrative services share in grieving this family’s loss and recognize his valuable service to the state of Georgia. Unfortunately, application of the law to these circumstances did not support a recommendation of approval of benefits under the program."

"You shouldn't have to fight for benefits when you live in the state of Georgia. You represent the state of Georgia. You try to keep people in the state of Georgia safe," said Henderson.

Henderson says it's just not right, and she's prepared to fight for other families of law enforcement officers.

"I want the state of Georgia to honor these people. You expect them to be there, when you pick up the phone and call 911, but then when they die you don't want to take care of their family," said Henderson.