FORT MYERS, Fla. — Police K9s injured in the line-of-duty can now receive emergency medical treatment thanks to a new bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis
It's something Sergeant Sanders of the Fort Myers Police Department says is a game-changer.
“Anytime we see something like this it shows that the support is out there for the dogs, for the handlers, and for the agency,” said Sanders.
Basically, it’s faster medical care for our four-legged partners in uniform.
SB 388 allows police K9s to receive on-the-spot medical treatment, something that before now was prohibited by state law.
It also gives the green light for them to be transported by ambulance to the nearest vet, a huge help when trying to serve and protect in Southwest Florida.
“It’s Florida, it’s hot, maybe there is a scenario where the dog gets some type of reaction to the heat or maybe there is some type of reaction to smoke or something like that where we can get aid from our partners at ems right away," said Sanders.
Fort Myers Police Department (FMPD) tells Fox 4 their K9s are trained at a very young age to have a relentless approach to every task.
Police say this bill finally gives their K9 companions the same quality attention other officers receive.
“Our k9 are deployed, daily. whether it be for narcotics investigation whether it be for some type of bomb sweep that we do for big huge events and large crowds or as much as finding people within our community. so they are invaluable tools that are used with our police department with the city-- every day," said Sanders.
FMPD tells us they have seven, K9’s in their department, a luxury, not every police station can afford.
According to Police1.com on average, training a police K9 can cost between $12,000-15,000.
This includes testing their endurance, agility, and natural aggression - then basic obedience training.
The National Police Dog Foundation reports that most of these costs are covered by public and private donations, with over 80% of a department's budget is spent on salaries.
“I know we love it, I know the community loves keeping these dogs out there, and the healthier they are, the more successful we will be,” said Sanders.
The bill is the latest push by the state to support and protect law enforcement.
Last year, a bill was signed that increased the penalty for those who injure or kill K9 officers in Florida.