Orlando police reserves officer suspended over unemployment claims

City: Reserves officer earning retirement while filing for unemployment

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando police reserves officer has been suspended over claims he misused state unemployment funds, department and city officials confirmed.

The city of Orlando has two active disputes with Florida unemployment benefits concerning reserve officer Willis Weaver, public information officer Samantha Holsten said via email.

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The city was required by state law to pay both unemployment claims in full even while they were disputed by the city, Holsten said.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees Florida’s unemployment benefits, is investigating the dispute over the payments.

The investigation was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

Weaver retired from OPD on Nov. 1, 2016, after working at the department for nearly 28 years. He immediately entered the OPD reserve program, which is unpaid and voluntary. Orlando Police Department officials said Holsten is suspended from the program while the dispute investigation is ongoing.

Weaver has been making $4,555.80 per month from his police pension retirement. Those receiving retirement pay are typically unable to receive unemployment benefits, according to the DEO.

Last year Weaver received more than $6,500 in employment, the city paid half of that amount and has filed a dispute with the DEO.

“The amount due to Mr. Weaver was $1,087.20 in the second quarter 2020 and $2,174.40 for the third quarter 2020 for a total of $3,261.60,” Holsten said. “The City was only responsible for 50% of that amount so we only paid $1,630.80. The Federal CARES act covered the other half.”