By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EMD Digest
An Orlando police officer who responded to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting last June is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is fighting the Police Department over his new assignment.
Officer Gerry Realin was a member of the police team tasked with removing the 49 bodies recovered from the club in the early hours of June 12, 2016. Sixty-eight other patrons and staff were wounded in the attack by shooter Omar Mateen. Mateen was killed in a shootout with police.
Realin returned to duty several weeks after the attack, but his PTSD prevented him from performing his police duties. His doctors said he could perform municipal clerical duties, but not for the Police Department.
When Realin’s worker’s compensation payments ran out, the city began to pay his full salary again, even though Orlando police health benefits do not cover PTSD-related conditions.
Last week, Realin was told to report to the camera program in City Hall that oversees red light infractions to assist in running a new bicycle safety problem. He was allowed to continue receiving treatment while on duty.
But Realin did not show up for work. Realin claimed the program is associated with the City of Orlando Police Department and he is just following his doctors’ orders.
That claim was refuted by deputy police chief Orlando Rolon. He told the Orlando Sentinel that the department has “bent over backwards” to help Realin.
Rolon warned Realin that he will have to start using sick time if he doesn’t explain why he isn’t showing up. The deputy chief said, “In this case, we are just following the norm. We will take care of you and we will pay your salary if you have an injury. But as soon as you are given a limited-duty status you are expected to come back.”
About the Author
David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. David’s 2015 book, “The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever,” has just been published in paperback by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.