Eatonville, Florida, police officer Omar Delgado was one of the first officers to respond to the deadly massacre, pulling people to safety, but he has since struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Eatonville Town Council voted Tuesday night to pay some of Officer Omar Delgado's accrued sick time before he is dismissed from the police force on December 31. Omar Delgado some $1,200 in accrued sick time and confirmed his last day of employment as December 31.
Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole wondered why the funds from One Orlando Fund, an initiative for the Pulse nightclub shooting victims set up by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, could not be used to assist law enforcement officers and their families who have been impacted by the tragedy. He returned to patrol duty after the shooting that killed 49 people, but eventually took a desk job.
Delgado said he doesn't understand why he's losing his job. Had they waited an additional six months, Delgado-who has worked for the department for 9 and a half years-would have been eligible for his pension, in which he would have been able to collect 64 percent of his $38,500 annual salary, with benefits, for life.
"It's hurtful", he said.
As it stands now, he will only receive 42 percent of his salary starting when he's 55 years old.
Delgado couldn't believe that the town won't let him continue with the Eatonville Police Department long enough to qualify for his pension.
Delgado said he has been on light duty for several months, and he is just six months shy of tenure, which would have made him eligible for full retirement benefits.
"Just let me get vested and I will be more than happy to pack up my troubles and leave", he said.
Delgado said he had hoped for a better outcome.
According to the Sentinel, the police department wouldn't confirm the reason for Delgado's dismissal but said they'd reached an agreement to end his employment.
"I came back physically, but not mentally", he said. However, he also declined to provide additional information relating to Delgado's firing, citing privacy laws. "It's a small town".
"I never thought I would have gotten to this point. I didn't think I was going to be treated this way". "He saved my life and for them to just do what they're doing to him in front of my face is a slap to my face as well", Colon told local ABC affiliate WFTV. "I needed help and I guess I'm being punished because I asked for help".
"This holiday is going to be a rough one", he said.
A proposed bill requiring coverage for mental health treatment in workers compensation for first responders with PTSD did advance Tuesday in Florida Senate committee in Tallahassee. Under the bill, a treatment will begin within 15 days once certified by a licensed psychiatrist. It may be heard by the legislature in the session beginning January 9.