BOSTON – Representative William Crocker (R- Centerville) has filed legislation that would allow police canines who have been injured in the line of duty to be treated and transported by emergency medical services (EMS) providers.
The bill, HD.1332 An Act Providing for the Care and Transportation of Police Dogs Injured in the Line of Duty, otherwise known as “Nero’s Bill”, was filed by Representative Crocker in response to the April 2018 shooting of Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon and his canine companion officer, Nero. Nero was gravely injured in the attack, but due to existing state law, the canine was unable to be treated or transported by EMS providers.
"Canine police officers are an integral part of the law enforcement community and are considered members of the department. It only seems appropriate that, when it comes to being treated for any injuries incurred while on the job, they should be treated like any other member of the force,” said Representative Crocker. “I am honored that the first responders reached out to me and asked me to file legislation that would fix the gap in treatment for canine officers."
This bill would seek to allow emergency personnel to treat and transport injured working police canines. It would also require that any emergency personnel who render care to a working police canine have completed training consistent with standards approved by the Office of Emergency Medical Services.
“This bill submitted by Representative Crocker will take away any hesitation for first responders to administer emergency care to operational K9s and transport them to a veterinary hospital without fear of the sanctions that currently exist,” said Chief Frank Frederickson of the Yarmouth Police Department. “I hope that the necessity for these services will be rare but we all know that this situation can happen in any community and at any time. We owe this to the K9s and their handlers, who both operate in dangerous atmospheres."
Thirteen other legislators – Representatives Brian Ashe, Shawn Dooley, Carole Fiola, Mathew Muratore, Michael Soter, Dylan Fernandes, Susan Williams Gifford, Hannah Kane, David Muradian, Randy Hunt, Sarah Peake, and Timothy Whelan; and Senator Julian Cyr – have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. The deadline for representatives and senators to sign on as a co-sponsor is Friday, February 1st, 2019.
The bill awaits a committee assignment.