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New bill honors late Phoenix Police officer

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Four years after former Phoenix Police officer Craig Tiger took his own life, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill in honor of him.

The "Craig Tiger Act" will provide more help and financial resources for first responders suffering from PTSD, as a result of the job. In 2012, Officer Tiger and his partner drew their guns, shooting and killing a man who was about to attack them with a bat.

That man died, marking the beginning of the end of Officer Tiger's career and life. Now, six years after Officer Tiger's death, his family says the man finally getting the recognition and honor he deserves.

"It means so much to my children, for their father to be honored this way," said the wife of Officer Tiger, Rebecca Tiger. "He's never been honored by the city or the state. His name will never be forgotten. It will forever be part of a state law."

Officer Tiger silently suffered from PTSD after the deadly 2012 shooting. In 2013, he got a DUI and was fired, which sparked controversy and put him at odds with the department. His cries for help went unanswered from worker's comp. For nine months, he didn't get paid, and in 2014, Officer Tiger committed suicide.

"It's recognized as an injury now," said Rebecca. "They can have on duty treatment without the loss of pay."

The "Craig Tiger Act" provides Phoenix first responders, including firefighters, paid time off and extensive mental health care.

"Now, Phoenix Police Department provides 30 days off, allowed to come to work but not allowed as an enforcement first responder," said Joe Clure with the Arizona Police Association.

The bill recognizes PTSD as a work injury, provides first responders with 36 counseling sessions, and keeps their pay and benefits in place, even if they are unable to return to work.

"Craig's death was not in vain," said Rebecca. "My motto since the beginning was 'Not One More'. Not one more life lost to PTSD."

Just this year, Phoenix Police officers have been involved in more than two dozen shootings, which averages out to one police shooting a week so far. The Phoenix Police Department now has a full-time Employee Assistance Unit to provide peer support. In addition, a police chaplain and a psychiatric professional are called out to all critical incidents.