First responder Gerry Realin worked nearly round-the-clock after the Pulse terror attack on June 12. But now, because of the PTSD that followed that tragic night, his family could lose everything, Realin’s wife said. Jessica Realin, said a loophole in state law lets police departments off the hook when their officers get PTSD. They said a Florida statue doesn’t recognize PTSD as a work related injury and therefore, workman’s compensation will not cover his treatment. Now the family is pushing to close a loophole in the state law. Right now, the police officer can't even drive by pulse without triggering his PTSD. Gerry Realin was one of the small group of offices who helped move the 49 people who died inside the club.
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — "When he got home, 2:30 the next morning, he came in very quiet, was different, looked at both of our kids, then went in the shower and just lost it," Jessica Realin said. "And he didn't stop crying. The next day, it was on and off. And it's just been really hard."
Gerry Realin now bounces between doctors for treatment and he said he worries the Orlando Police Department could stop paying his salary any time and one step from being unable to support his family. "The law has a very specific carve-out and, unfortunately, Officer Realin falls squarely within that carve-out,” said his attorney, Paolo Longo. Gerry Realin's lawyer said state law goes out of its way to require that first responders have a physical injury to accompany a psychological one. If not, they have legal right to collect lost wages. "It's not mandated under the law, right now, and that's what we're fighting to change,” Jessica Realin said. Just over a week since the Realin’s started pushing for a change in a loophole, he’s sitting in silence. Eyewitness News obtained a copy of OPD’s new media policy. The week-old policy asks officers to “be advised that such interviews may only be conducted with the approval of the appropriate division commander or designee.” That policy replaced an optional one saying officers were strongly urged to seek guidance before doing an interview. The police department told Eyewitness News that no one has ever barred Officer Realin from talking to the press. Eyewitness News is waiting to hear from the department how long it will pay him. Jessica Realin told Channel 9’s Field Sutton that she’s called lawmakers and gotten the cold shoulder. She said she hopes her family's nightmare will be enough to convince people in Tallahassee to cover first responders across the board. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the increasing costs.
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