WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

OPD Officer With PTSD From Pulse Ordered To Desk Job

Gerry Realin, left, was diagnosed with PTSD after responding to the Pulse Night Club shooting. Jessica Realin wants Florida's workers' compensation laws to cover the condition. Photo: Abe Aboraya, WMFE

Stay up to date on coronavirus coverage: Listen to WMFE on your radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” or “WMFE” and you’ll be connected.

An Orlando police officer diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the Pulse shooting has been ordered back to work.

The Orlando Police Department ordered Gerry Realin to work for city hall in the STOPS office. He would administer a bike safety program in the red light camera enforcement department.

His wife, Jessica Realin, said three of her husband’s doctors say he is disabled from PTSD and can’t do police work.

“They’re all saying Gerry is fully disabled from PTSD, that he can no longer be a police officer,” Realin said. “So why is it the city of Orlando and the Orlando police department come up with these alternative positions?”

Realin was on the team of officers who removed bodies from the Pulse nightclub where a shooter killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others. He hasn’t been able to work since the diagnosis, but under Florida’s workers compensation law, he isn’t eligible for lost wages. The Orlando Police Department has been paying his salary anyway.

Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon said Realin isn’t cleared to do work for the police department, but that the new position is in City Hall and isn’t a police position. Realin was supposed to report Monday, but has not.

“It (the absence) could be deemed to be insubordination that could carry disciplinary action to include the possibility of termination,” Rolon said. “We hope that never becomes the case.”

Paolo Longo, an attorney representing the Realins, said when an employer starts using words like “order” and “insubordination” in written communication, it’s a red flag.

“[OPD] is still paying his salary, but you can tell just from their posture that they’re tired of doing that,” Longo said. “It’s admirable that they’re making an effort to keep him employed, it just has to be within the restrictions the doctors give, and it has to be on the right timeline. That’s the rub. That’s what typically happens in a workers’ comp case is the employer pushes and pushes and pushes to get someone back to work, and they say, well, you refused, so you’re fired.

 


WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by AdventHealth.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.

GET THE LATEST

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »

TOP