Two families of fallen Florida officers who died during the manhunt for accused killer Markeith Loyd will receive vastly different pension benefits, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
A state law passed last year allows the spouse or primary beneficiary of a fallen law enforcement officer to receive 100% of state pension benefits. But because Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton was vested in the city's pension and not the state's, her primary beneficiary is only entitled to 60 percent of her $90,000 annual salary, the city says.
Clayton, a 17-year-veteran of the force, was killed Jan. 9 while confronting murder suspect Loyd at a Wal-Mart on John Young Parkway and Princeton Street.
The family of Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Norman Lewis, who was killed during the manhunt, will receive his full salary of $49,000, because his pension plan was through the state. He had been with the OCSO since 2005.
Matt Puckett, executive director of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, said his organization tried to have the new law apply to city pensions as well but they were rebuffed by the League of Cities, who thought the death benefits should be negotiated on the local level.
"I think it is unfair," he said. "I understand where League of Cities is coming from, but it's really easy to state your position when you aren't talking to a family member of a fallen officer."