'For the families, you can only imagine the impact'

'For the families, you can only imagine the impact'

EUGENE, Ore. - When the Oregon Legislature convenes next month, Senate Bills 421 and 426 will be on the agenda.

The legislation is brought forth by state Sen. Floyd Prozanski along with the family of Officer Chris Kilcullen, a Eugene police officer fatally shot during a routine traffic stop in 2011.

Investigators said Springfield resident Cheryl Kidd shot and killed Kilcullen. Kidd has been in a state mental hospital since then, deemed unfit to stand trial.

Oregon law says those mentally unfit to stand trial can be held in a state hospital for up to three years. After that begins what is known as a "civil commitment" process, a court hearing every 6 months to determine if the suspect should stay in the hospital.

"For the families, you can only imagine the impact it has on them," Prozanski said, "when you've lost a loved one knowing every 6 months you have to gear up and attend these hearings, knowing that the individual - more than likely - is not going to be deemed fit to stand trial. 

The legislation would extend the "civil commitment" process to every two or five years.

"I've seen the process in the past, and it's not a pleasant process," said John Kilcullen, Chris Kilcullen's father, "and it brings up a lot of stuff for his parents and for his wife and it's also for his kids."

Prozanski and Kilcullen are confident the changes will pass in the legislature.

"I'm excited to see something happen," Kilcullen said. "I'm excited to see it pass and to not have to look forward to this ordeal every six months."