A Florida law set to take effect allows first responders to transport and treat police K-9s hurt in the line of duty, offering more prompt medical care for the canine partners.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the bill Friday at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, according to Fox 13.
Prior to its signing, state law barred emergency workers from giving aid to K-9s who were injured in the line of duty.
“The police use canines very effectively. They respond to fires, they find missing persons, they detect narcotics, they’re able to identify explosives,” DeSantis said during the press conference.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is holding a news conference at the St. John's Sheriff's Office in St. Augustine.
Posted by ABC7 Sarasota – WWSB on Friday, June 18, 2021
“These canines are used… they use their unique ability to save lives and to protect the people of our communities throughout Florida. In some cases, they’re the ones to first put their lives on the line,” he added.
The governor also referred to a bill he signed in 2019 to “increase the penalty for causing harm to or using a deadly weapon against a police K-9 from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony, and today we build on that action.”
The recent bill, SB 388, allows EMTs to care for K-9s at the scene and transport them for emergency care in the same manner as emergency crews would for an injured human officer.
“These K9s are men and women just like us,” he said. “They’re deputy sheriffs, they’re investigators, they’re fire marshals, they’re detectives. They are a part of our profession.”
In another move to support law enforcement, Gov. DeSantis in May offered bonuses to every police officer, firefighter, paramedic, and emergency medical technician (EMT) in his state.
“DeSantis announced that as part of the state’s budget that he will sign into law, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs in Florida will each receive a $1,000 bonus following a year of unrest spurred by the Chinese coronavirus and anti-law enforcement riots,” Breitbart News reported.