Officials from the department claim that a Tavares officer was accidentally poisoned by fentanyl on Tuesday during a routine traffic stop.
Officer Courtney Bannick reported finding alleged narcotics on a passenger in a vehicle during the traffic stop. The individual was arrested and taken to the Lake County Jail, but shortly after, other officers on the scene realized Bannick needed immediate medical attention.
The body cam released by the department shows her passed out and her fellow officers yelling that she is overdosing.
Chief Sarah Coursey, Tavares Police Officer, stated that the increased strength of fentanyl was the reason. It is stronger, we are seeing more overdoses than ever before.
Bannick was given three doses of NARCAN. This is commonly administered to someone who is addicted to opioids to bring them back when they overdose. Coursey stated that Bannick had done this type of stop at least 100 times previously.
“I am giving extra NARCAN to all the officers so they have some to take home in case it were to get on their clothes or exposed later,” Coursey said.
Bannick says that she has always wanted to become a police officer, even though she admitted to getting in trouble as a teenager. She says that it was a conversation she had with a police officer that helped her get back on track.
“I had someone that was realistic with me, not telling me you shouldn’t do this,” Bannick said. “But (the officer) did tell me how it could affect my future instead of just taking me to jail.”
Bannick stated that she works the Tavares Police Department’s evening and late-night shifts.
On Tuesday, however, the officer who loves helping people in her community was stopped and found drugs in the car.
Coursey states that the number and severity of fentanyl-related arrests have increased over the last five years. In the past month and a quarter, 18 overdoses have been reported to the Tavares Police Department.
Data shows that there have been over 60 overdoses in Lake County in the last three months.
Bannick expects to make a complete recovery. The officer with the pink badge, the donut, and the rearview mirror hanging from her back will return to patrol on Friday.
Bannick stated, “I want children and those in need not to fear us, but to see us as someone they can talk to and get to know.” Bannick spoke during a ride-along in December with News 13.
Officials claim that the two individuals Bannick pulled over at the traffic stop are now facing felony criminal charges.