ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined members of the Florida Legislature and Florida’s law enforcement community to support law enforcement canines injured in the line of duty by signing Senate Bill 388.
“Law enforcement K-9s are often the first to put their lives on the line as they work to apprehend dangerous or armed suspects in high-intensity situations,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “From responding to fires to finding missing persons to detecting narcotics or explosives, law enforcement dogs use their unique abilities to rescue victims and detect danger. I’m proud to sign this legislation today to ensure they quickly receive the care needed to recover when injured in the line of duty.”
“I applaud Governor DeSantis and the Legislature on this bill that will help protect our K-9 partners,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “These dogs are a great asset to Florida law enforcement and the communities we serve and enhancing the ability for them to get critical care in the line of duty is important.”
“People often forget that canine officers are an integral part of our law enforcement family,” said Senator Tom Wright. “We must do everything in our power to protect these animals and make sure they are cared for in the same way as any other officer. I want to thank Governor DeSantis and my colleagues in the Legislature for supporting this bill unanimously throughout the process. We will maintain our steadfast commitment to support all law enforcement officers in Florida.”
“I would like to thank Senator Wright for allowing me to run this good bill with him and for the support of Attorney General Moody and you, Governor DeSantis, for signing this important legislation,” said Representative Sam Killebrew. “As many of you know, I’m a big advocate for animals as well as law enforcement. Canines often risk their lives to protect others and are hurt in the line of duty; this bill will allow EMT personnel to provide emergency medical care and transport them to a nearby veterinary clinic. Simply, it takes a proactive approach to saving the lives of these officers.”
Senate Bill 388 strengthens Florida’s commitment to protecting our law enforcement, including canine members of the force. When a law enforcement canine is injured while safeguarding our communities, this bill authorizes emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances, to transport police canines to a veterinary clinic to ensure they quickly get the care needed to recover if there is no individual requiring medical attention or transport at that time. The bill also allows emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics to provide emergency medical care to an injured police canine at the scene of an emergency or while the canine is being transported.