MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County has developed a first-of-its-kind program to offer medical support and care for the county’s front-line law enforcement K-9’s that work alongside the Sheriff’s Office response teams in critical situations.
The county will expand services now offered to human responders by a specialized group of tactical medics who make up the Office of Emergency Management’s Special Operations Group to include law enforcement dogs who respond with the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad, SERT/SWAT team, and Hazmat teams.
“We have our dogs going up against the same threats and critical issues that our officers face,’’ said Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon. “Why shouldn’t they receive the same level of medical care in the event that they become injured while performing their mission?”
“Our K-9 community is an integral part of the county’s police and first response family, out front in dealing with dangerous and difficult events,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “They deserve nothing less than the best care.’’
The Sheriff’s Office currently offers 24/7 veterinary care for its K-9 program. Sheriff Gannon and Office of Emergency Management Director Jeff Paul explained that the expanded service would offer K-9s advanced medical care at the scene of an incident and quick transport, if required, to an appropriate veterinary care facility.
OEM’s Special Operations Group Emergency Medical Services is a joint team comprised of members of the county OEM, Sheriff’s Office, and Prosecutor’s Office, plus Saint Clare’s Hospital and Atlantic Health Systems/Morristown Medical Center. This unique team provides medical support and care to members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team, or SERT (aka SWAT).
They provide on-site basic and advanced life support during SERT/SWAT operations. That program now would be expanded to offer support for the county’s law enforcement K-9s.
“Now, for the first time, we will do the same service that we offer our human responders to our K-9 family in blue. We will treat them at the scene and transport them for follow up medical care. They deserve nothing less!’’ said OEM Director Jeff Paul.
Morris County Law and Public Safety Director Scott DiGiralomo credited the county Board of Freeholders with offering full support for the county’s OEM efforts, including the expanded treatment for the county’s canine force.
The announcement of an expanded level of care for law enforcement dogs was made today at the start of a K-9 Tactical Training Program conducted by Techline Technologies, Inc. and offered by the county OEM for officers and their dogs along with the OEM’s Special Operations Group at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany.
K-9 teams from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Police, and the United States Secret Service attended the course. Also participating were specialized response team members from UMDNJ, Morristown Medical Center, Saint Clare’s Health/EMS, the Morris Township Police Department, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
K9 partners, leashed and muzzled, worked through portions of the program with their handlers during this intensive, two-day, 16-hour training course designed for law enforcement, military, or search and rescue-oriented canine handlers, tactical medics, or veterinary personnel supporting tactical canine programs.