GRAPHIC: Police help save officer in fentanyl overdose during traffic stop

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 6:12 PM MST
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TAVARES, Fla. (WESH) - Police in Florida say one of their officers is recovering after coming into contact with fentanyl.

The Tavares Police Department has released body camera footage that they say shows the officer’s serious reaction to the controlled substance.

Tavares police said they’re releasing the difficult footage as a warning about how dangerous fentanyl can be.

Courtney Sullivan, with Tavares police, said the incident happened on Monday night with officer Courtney Bannick found drugs on a passenger during a traffic stop.

“She just barely opened it, saw that it was narcotics and closed it quickly,” Sullivan said.

According to Sullivan, Bannick was wearing gloves.

“The next thing you know you could hear in the radio traffic that she [Bannick] sounded like she was choking,” Sullivan said.

The officers agreed to test the substance back at the department, trying to avoid exposure because it was windy. However, Sullivan said officers found Bannick in and out of consciousness.

They got Bannick out of the car and ran to get the emergency medication Narcan.

“It’s a small window to get to the hospital and to get the care that you need,” Sullivan said.

The body camera footage shows officer Bannick reviving, even talking, but then passing out again.

“Officer Bannick wants others to know that these drugs are dangerous,” Sullivan said. “They’re dangerous for not only yourself but others around you.”

Officer Bannick was administered a third Narcan and survived the exposure.

Tavares police said Bannick is at home recovering. The officer said she believes the wind contributed to her overdose.

Police also said the person involved in the traffic stop will face felony charges as they continue their investigation.