Gov. Baker signs Nero's Law in Yarmouth, four years after death of Police Sgt. Sean Gannon
Four years to the day that a Yarmouth police sergeant was killed, and his K-9 partner seriously wounded, Governor Charlie Baker was in Yarmouth to sign legislation that allows police dogs injured in the line of duty to be transported in ambulances.
Nero’s Law grew out of the incident on April 12, 2018 when Sgt. Sean Gannon was shot and killed and his K-9 partner Nero badly wounded, as they served an arrest warrant at a house in Marstons Mills.
Under the law at the time, Nero could not be treated or transported in an ambulance. He had to wait until he could be transported to a veterinarian in a police cruiser.
Baker said he was pleased that something good came out of the tragedy.
“So yeah, there's a tremendous amount of sadness that comes from this, but at the same time this is a very special moment about a very special person and a very special force and a very special community and a very special partner,” Baker said.
The Governor was a strong supporter of the legislation and made a point to push for its passage at every weekly meeting of the state’s leadership team.
“These dogs are very special. We shouldn’t have to debate that we should do everything we can to save them,” Baker said.
Gannon’s mother, Denise Gannon, also delivered a positive message.
“We celebrate our solidarity. Law enforcement, politicians, veterinarians, family, members of the community friends,” Gannon said.
State Rep. Steven Xiarhos, R-West Barnstable, who was the deputy police chief in Yarmouth at the time of the incident, said the signing ceremony was personal to him. And he predicted that the legislation will save lives of police K-9s.
“The animals that Nero's Bill will protect are not just pets. They are every bit the heroes that we recognize their human counterparts to be every day.”
The bill signing ceremony was held in a training facility for K-9 officers and their dogs. It was built at Yarmouth police headquarters entirely through private donations.
Yarmouth Chief of Police Frank Frederickson called Nero “a symbol of strength and resilience” and said K-9 officers need to know that their dogs, “will get the best services available” if they are injured in the line of duty.
The legislation allows for ambulances to be used to transport police dogs, if doing so will not take care away from humans.