Last week, over 50 law enforcement officers from across the New England area came together to learn how to provide life-saving aid to their canine police dogs.
Held at Hanscom Air Force, the entire event was coordinated and hosted by the Federal Protective Service for interagency law enforcement partners, including U.S. Customs Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Border Patrol, Amtrak Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Park Service, U.S. Air Force, and nearly 30 local police departments from across New England.
The training was provided by veterinarian Dr. Paul McNamara, who donates his free time to help police departments across the country learn how to save their canines.
Veterinary Doctor Paul McNamara presents K-9 first aid tactical training to law enforcement officers in the New England area.
“Your canine partner is willing to give their life to you, so it’s important that you know how to take care of them in a medical emergency,” said Dr. Paul McNamara. As a part-time member of the Duchess County Sherriff’s Department, McNamara understands better than most the unique medical risks that police canines face on a daily basis, such as narcotics and explosives.
The full-day training included basic canine first aid actions the law enforcement officers can take in response to ailments and injuries faced by canine officers, including heat stroke, dehydration, frostbite, allergic reactions, bites/stings, poison, burns, chemical and biological attacks, gunshot wounds, common street drugs, and much more.
“This training has been invaluable,” said FPS K9 Inspector Walter Schlichting. “Even though I have taken some canine first aid training before, there is so much information that I have never thought of, such as carrying Benadryl in a canine first aid kit.”
FPS brought together law enforcement agencies from around the New England area to learn about tactical canine first aid. DHS was well-represented, with participants from FPS, TSA, CBP, and U.S. Border Patrol. (Photo courtesy of FPS)
This training is especially important because of Fentanyl, a nationwide problem for police canines. When conducting their sniffing duties on the streets, a tiny whiff of this drug can be deadly to the dogs, and it’s up to their human partners to take immediate action to save their lives.
“I love working with canine handlers because they are so dedicated to their partners,” said McNamara. “It’s amazing to see so many officers here who have chosen to spend their day getting this training, even though they could be doing something else, because they want to make sure they can care for their dogs. It’s humbling.”