TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Police officer Tim Bergman smiled widely when a reporter finally asked him how he was doing.
Bergman came into work Monday morning for the first time after being burned by a burglary suspect on January 12. Bergman had to smile, because after twenty minutes at a news conference about the incident, it was the first time anyone had bothered to ask how he was doing.
The entire focus of the news conference before that moment had been on Bergman’s K-9 partner named Indo.
Bergman and Indo were called to a home at 1022 East 25th Avenue in Tampa with a report of a burglary in progress. Three officers entered the house where they confronted a suspect, Joey Antonio Kennedy, 40, of Tampa.
K-9 Indo went after Kennedy, and police said Kennedy responded by throwing flaming paint thinner on the dog and officer Bergman.
Bergman shot Kennedy and then took his dog out of the house.
“After K-9 Indo and I exited the house, there was a lot of blood. There was a substantial of blood coming from his head. I used the towel and some other gauze to wipe his face down to make sure and see how bad his injuries were,” said Bergman.
Bergman and Indo have been a team for six years.
“When I exited the house, because of the blood, I thought he was shot,” said Bergman.
The officer immediately went to his patrol car and retrieved a first aide kit made especially for K9 officers. Bergman received the kit and two hours of training from a group called “Frankie’s Friends” teaching him how to treat wounds.
“The curriculum, the training, the program, we worked with licensed veterinarians to be able to put together the training course,” said Danielle Martin with “Frankie’s Friends”.
Martin said funding for the kits and training were made possible by a grant given to Cindy Roberts by the Tampa Bay Lightning as part of their community hero program.
Roberts was married to Tampa Police officer Mike Roberts, who was also a K-9 officer. Roberts was killed in the line of duty. Cindy Roberts works to keep his memory alive and help other K-9 officers.
The kit from “Frankie’s Friends” contains basic first aid items, but also some things that are specifically for dogs.
“We wanted to make sure they were prepared in the line of duty if something like this were to happen. You never want to use the bag, you hope they never even get opened, except to make sure the supplies are still good and still in there, but in situations like this we want to make sure the officers are prepared and they have the supplies they need,” said Martin.
Officer Bergman said he’s used the kit many times before for minor scrapes for Indo, but on the morning of the incident, with blood running from his partners face, the kit was invaluable.
“I went right to the kit that “Frankie’s Friends” gave us. I started pulling towels out, everything that was in there. I started wiping his face down and just checking him, but it’s my partner, same thing I’d do if he was human,” said Bergman.
During the news conference photographers took close up pictures of Indo and the scar on his face.
The dog sat quietly at Bergman’s side during the entire event. Bergman said his K-9 friend and partner is ready to go back on duty.
“He’s ready to go. As you can see, he’s back to himself. He’s ready to do a building search if we had to do one right now” said Bergman.