Police: Ed Thomas' legacy made Iowa safer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Police: Ed Thomas' legacy made Iowa safer

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

A few days before Ed Thomas was shot and killed, police had arrested his killer Mark Becker after a high speed chase.

Becker was taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation.

Police claim they requested a notification from the hospital when he was released, and that the notification never came.

Instead, Becker was free and within hours, he shot and killed the beloved Aplington-Parkersburg football coach.

However, at the time of the murder, a notification of Becker's release wasn't required by state law.

Jan Thomas believes her husband's life would have been saved if it had been a requirement why is why she spearheaded efforts with the "Ed Thomas bill" which requires hospital personnel to notify law enforcement agencies before a patient is released if the patient faces criminal charges.

The "Ed Thomas bill" was passed into state law in 2010, a year after Thomas was murdered.

Cedar Falls Police Captain Craig Berte said the so-called "Ed Thomas form," also known as Form DPS-229, has made Iowa safer.

In 2013, Jan joined forces with Rep. Bruce Braley and testified before a congressional panel about the importance of clear communication between law enforcement agencies and hospital personnel.

After her testimony, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services handed out guidelines to healthcare providers across the country about patient privacy, particularly when it comes to disclosing information about a patient to law enforcement officers.

In a statement, Rep. Bruce Braley said Tuesday, "Coach Thomas' death was a terrible tragedy, but it's a tribute to his life that people in communities across the country are safer due to protections put into place in his name. His legacy lives on and will continue to positively impact our community, our state, and our nation."

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