Thursday, October 27, 2016

Red Tape After Pulse Massacre Leaves First Responder Struggling

Orlando Officers Grapple With Trauma and Red Tape After Massacre
New York Times
By FRANCES ROBLES
OCT. 27, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. — The sound of a ringing iPhone makes Omar Delgado sweat and freeze in place. His heart pounds. He closes his eyes to fight back the ghastly images that no one should ever have to see.

He hears the marimba-like tone and he is back at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 as a police officer pinned down in an hourslong standoff surrounded by dead bodies, their phones ringing again and again with calls that will never be answered.

“I literally felt like I was standing there at the club, my feet hurting, my arm hurting from holding my weapon,” Officer Delgado recalled, thinking of the times just after the slaughter when the phone rang and the panic came back.

It has been more than four months since a security guard named Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people at the gay club in Orlando. Officer Delgado, 44, who works in nearby Eatonville, was on the job briefly over the July 4 weekend but suffered a flashback on duty and has not been on patrol since. He has spent the last few months getting treated for nightmares and depression while managing red tape and cuts in his take-home pay because he no longer earns overtime.
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