SWAT officer shot during Pulse massacre granted disability pension

Michael Napolitano suffered from PTSD after the Pulse Nightclub shooting where a helmet saved his life


Tess Sheets
Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO — Orlando police Officer Michael Napolitano, a former SWAT team member who was shot in the helmet while responding to the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016, was granted medical retirement Monday.

The decision secures him 80 percent of his annual salary.

Michael Napolitano will retire with 80 percent of his annual salary after the pension board voted to approve his medical retirement. (Photo/Facebook)
Michael Napolitano will retire with 80 percent of his annual salary after the pension board voted to approve his medical retirement. (Photo/Facebook)

Napolitano was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the mass shooting at Pulse, where he was shot in the Kevlar helmet by gunman Omar Mateen. He later returned to work briefly in a light duty role before a doctor recommended additional work restrictions, which the Police Department could not accommodate.

He was told in August that he could face termination if a decision wasn’t made on his disability retirement by Sept. 30. The pension board at a meeting in August said Napolitano’s case was delayed because of difficulties finding a doctor who specializes in his condition.

Shawn Dunlap, president of the union that represents OPD officers, said police pension board members approved Napolitano’s retirement at a meeting Monday by a vote of four to one, confirming that Napolitano was permanently and totally disabled from an on-duty injury and the Police Department has no jobs available to accommodate him. OPD Detective Michael Fields, who is on the pension board, was the lone dissenter.

Dunlap said he was “very happy” with the pension board’s decision, which will allow Napolitano to “move on with his life.”

“I know he struggles deeply with this and I hope this separation from the Police Department can help him moving forward,” Dunlap said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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