ORLANDO, Fla. – The president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Orlando said his organization is going to bat for an officer injured the night of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016.
Michael Napolitano escaped death when a bullet hit him in the head on the morning of June 12; it was stopped by his bulletproof helmet.
Shawn Dunlap, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 25, said Napolitano is not able to go back to work, and he said the department called the officer on Thursday morning indicating he could be terminated.
"He's a family man, and the thought of losing his income is probably devastating to him," Dunlap told News 6.
He said under the Orlando Police Department's policy, an officer injured in the line-of-duty has to be medically evaluated within a certain period of time to qualify for medical pension.
In Napolitano's case, that deadline is Sept. 30.
He said the city's contracted medical provider doesn't have a doctor that can do that.
"He's been waiting in excess of 15 weeks for his independent medical evaluation, which he needs to complete the pension process," Dunlap said.
Orlando police spokesman Corey Berkharth responded to News 6's request for a comment about the termination:
"Michael Napolitano will always be part of our OPD family and we are committed to his personal health and well-being. On the night of the Pulse Nightclub Attack, Officer Napolitano bravely carried out his duties to help us take down a terrorist who committed a horrific act of violence against the Orlando community.
"Officer Napolitano has served the City of Orlando and its residents with the pride, courage, and commitment that our officers are known for, and this community will forever be grateful to him for his service. The events of that night continue to have a lasting impact on the victims, their families, our community, and also the first responders who stepped up and answered the call of duty in order to protect more people from being killed. The Orlando Police Department will continue to work with and support Officer Napolitano."
Dunlap told News 6 he's given OPD the name of the medical professional used by the Orlando Fire Department for their medical evaluations, but he has not heard anything back.
Orlando police said the pension board will make the final decision, and the city said they're working to get this scheduled as soon as possible.