STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - The hot temperatures can be tough on everyone - especially K9 officers who are in the heat and in the back of police vehicles.
A statewide group based in Statesboro has raised money to help small police departments afford equipment that could help keep furry officers alive.
This time of year, we hear a lot about heat dangers with children in cars. It can be just as deadly K9 officers. The summer sun can heat up a patrol car just as fast as any other vehicle. Corporal Kyle Briley and K9 Rio have a sensor in their SUV that measures the temperature. When it reaches a preset temperature, the lights and horn go off, plus, the window lowers and a fan starts to run.
Briley helped start the Georgia Police K9 Foundation. The group has now helped 20 police or sheriffs’ departments buy the sensor kits to protect dogs from the elements.
“It’s just something that’s a precautionary measure that helps us protect them, because things can get away from us at any given moment. Something may happen to us where we can’t get back to them quickly,” Cpl. Briley said.
While Statesboro Police Department covered the cost for Rio and others, Briley’s proud they’ve been able to help agencies all around the state. He says it can cost up to $20,000 to get a K9 team set up, so that sensor can be seen as a good investment.
Already this year, the Officer Down Memorial Page lists two dogs who died from heat exhaustion. K9 Biggie from the Florida Department of Corrections died in April, and K9 Eli from the Gwinnett County Police Department died in May. According to the memorial website, at least three police dogs died from heat stress inside vehicles in the United States last year.