Last week, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody showcased legislation aimed at protecting police K-9s injured in the line of duty.
Currently, paramedics and emergency medical technicians are not permitted to provide life-saving emergency medical care or transportation to police K-9s injured in the line of duty. Bill sponsor state Sen. Tom Wright, R-Port Orange, joined Moody’s news conference urging passage of the life-saving legislation.
“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line daily to serve their communities and protect our safety—and their four-legged partners risk their lives protecting them. Police K-9s regularly provide life-saving services, including suspect apprehension, detection and search-and-rescue missions that lead to the arrest of dangerous criminals and the safe return of missing persons. It is a dangerous job for officers and K-9s, and both are often subject to great bodily harm,” Moody said.
“As attorney general, I am dedicated to providing the best means of protection for all our law enforcement officers, including police K-9s. I am so grateful to Senator Wright and Representative Killebrew for sponsoring bills that will increase the ability of paramedics and EMTs to provide life-saving care and transportation to K-9 police dogs. They dedicate their lives to providing safety to our communities, we must do the same for them,” she added.
“SB 388 is a much-needed step in the right direction to ensure the safety and health of our K-9 officers. A K-9 and their handler are partners, and we must ensure our laws do not get in the way of their service to our state,” Wright said.
State Rep. Sam Killebrew, R-Winter Haven, has introduced the bill in the House.
“I want to thank Attorney General Moody for her support and Senator Wright for allowing me to run this great bill in the House. HB 697 is a great bill for the K-9s and their handlers,” Killebrew said.
The proposal would authorize transport vehicle licensees the ability to transport a police K-9 injured in the line of duty to a veterinary clinic, hospital emergency department or similar facility if no individual requires medical attention or transport at that time. The bills also authorize paramedics and EMTs to provide emergency medical care to a police K-9 injured in the line of duty while at the scene of the emergency or while the police K-9 is being transported to a veterinary clinic, hospital emergency department or similar facility.
Additionally, the bills ensure that any paramedic or EMT providing life-saving emergency medical care or transportation to a police K-9 do not face criminal or civil liability. HB 697 and SB 388 will protect paramedics and EMTs who act in good faith to provide emergency medical care to an injured police K-9 by granting immunity from criminal or civil liability.