Edgewater City Council strips some officers of health benefits

The Edgewater City Council has stripped the health benefits of police officers who were hurt in the line of duty.
David Gamell said that as a child, he had dreams of being someone's hero. He worked as an officer for the Edgewater Police Department for nearly two decades.

EDGEWATER, Fla. — “I was just always fascinated with law enforcement for the job they do, and today it’s a lot worse than even what we had,” Gamell said.

Gamell became disabled in 2006 from a medical condition and could no longer work after having chest pains while responding to an active call. His attorney said the city of Edgewater had been paying his health insurance for years, until now.

“Our preference is very simple: they resend the decision, no litigation. We are not inviting litigation, simply asking them to do the right thing,” Gamell said.

Gamell's attorney wrote a letter to the mayor and council members urging them to reconsider the decision, and pointed out that each officer stripped of benefits also had "contested workers compensation" cases.

“It’s a slap in the face for all law enforcement with this,” said Gamell.

A city spokesperson told Channel 9 she didn’t know the details of each officer's agreement with the city, but said the city is following the law when it comes to providing benefits to officers.

Gamel’s attorney plans to take the letter to a city council meeting Monday night in hopes that the decision will be changed.

A council member said she sees this as an "HR" decision, and voted based on the information provided to her by the city.

Council member Gary Conroy said he was the only member to vote in favor of the officers.