TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Friday morning to sign a bill reaffirming the state’s commitment to protecting law enforcement officers – both human and canine.
The governor signed Senate Bill 388 at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in St. Augustine.
“The bill reaffirms Florida’s commitment to protecting our law enforcement – including and especially the four-legged members of the force,” DeSantis explained.
The bill, in part, allows police K9s to use ambulances and get care from EMTs when they get injured in certain circumstances.
“When a law enforcement K9 is injured while safeguarding our communities, this bill finally authorizes emergency service vehicles such as ambulances to transport police K9s to a veterinary clinic to ensure they quickly receive the care they need to recover if there is no individual requiring the medical transport at that time,” the governor said. “The bill also allows EMTs and paramedics to provide emergency medical care to an injured police K9 at the scene of an emergency and/or while the K9 is being transported.”
Before officially signing the bill, DeSantis said it was “overdue” and will hopefully save the lives of K9s.
“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,” the governor said. “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.”
Shortly after the news conference in St. Augustine, the governor’s office sent out a notice that he will stop at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office later Friday morning.