Mission Moment – May 2022

May Mission Moment

Officer Nicholas Galinger

Chattanooga, Tennessee Police Department

End of Watch February 24, 2019

Police Officer Nicholas Galinger was struck and killed by a vehicle in the 2900 block of Hamill Road at 11:00 pm, on February 24, 2019.

He was checking a manhole cover that had water overflowing from it when he was struck. Officer Galinger was transported to a local hospital where he died a short time later.

The driver of the vehicle vehicle fled the scene after striking him. The driver turned herself in two days later after being added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted List. She was charged with vehicular homicide. On September 25th, 2021, she was convicted of vehicular homicide by intoxication and seven other counts related to the crash. She was subsequently sentenced to 11 years in prison on February 7th, 2022.

Officer Galinger had just graduated from the police academy in January 2019 and was in field training at the time he was struck. He is survived by his son, daughter, parents, two sisters, two brothers, two grandmothers, and other relatives.

Officer Galinger’s death helped inspire and pass Tennessee House Bill 1834 which has now passed the Tennessee House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.  See below.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Gray News) – A bill in Tennessee passed the Senate that will require a person to pay child support if they kill a parent and are convicted of vehicular homicide due to intoxication.  Tennessee lawmakers unanimously passed House Bill 1834 on Wednesday. The bill was also amended to include the names of fallen police officer Nicholas Galinger’s children.

Galinger was a Chattanooga police officer when he was struck and killed in February 2019 by a woman, Janet Hinds, who was driving while intoxicated, officials said.  The 38-year-old rookie officer was inspecting a manhole cover that had water flowing from it that evening when Hinds hit him with her car and fled, according to the Associated Press.

Hinds was found guilty earlier this year in the fatal hit-and-run and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

According to the house bill summary, if a defendant is convicted of vehicular homicide due to intoxication or aggravated vehicular homicide and the victim of the offense was the parent of a minor child, then the sentencing court must order the defendant to pay restitution in the form of child maintenance to each of the victim’s children until each child reaches 18 years of age and has graduated from high school.

Editor’s note:  Many of you have probably heard about Bentley’s Law or had a similar bill introduced in your state.  Five more states were recently added to the list.  This is truly a grassroots effort, and if it has not come to your state, it probably will soon.

Background: Bentley’s Law was started by Cecilia Williams of Missouri, who came up with the idea for the bill after her son Cordell, his fiancée Lacey and their 4-month-old son Cordell II were killed by an alleged drunk driver (case has not been adjudicated). Bentley is the oldest of Cordell and Lacey’s two surviving sons. MADD Missouri is providing tremendous support to Cecilia and her family.

Cecilia is the driving force behind the introduction of these bills, which call for an offender who kills a parent to pay child support for the surviving children. We want to honor and support her advocacy. It is important to her that as each state introduces legislation, “Bentley’s Law” is either the name or part of the name. Her goal is for every state to pass this bill, and her firm belief that name recognition is essential to reaching that goal.

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