Lone Pine, CA – A four-legged member of the Eastern Sierra Joint Taskforce has a nose up on arsonists and uses those skills to sniff out the causes of fires. This special investigator is K9 Remington, an accelerant detection canine (K-9) who partnered with Jeff Schwing during a four week canine-accelerant detection canine training school.
The program is funded by State Farm and is available to fire departments and law enforcement agencies across the United States and Canada. Since its beginning in 1993, the program has placed more than 360 dogs in 44 states, three Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia. All accelerant detection canine teams are trained by Maine Specialty Dogs.
Jeff Schwing and K9 Remington are already actively working arson investigations in their territory and are making a great contribution to the community.
“We feel law enforcement officials should have every tool possible to combat this costly — and sometimes deadly — crime,” said David Beigie, State Farm Vice President – Public Affairs. “These K-9s enable investigators to do their job more efficiently and effectively.”
And that’s exactly what accelerant-detection dogs are – a tool to help on-the-scene arson investigations.
“The dog will never replace the arson investigator,” said Paul Gallagher, trainer – Maine Specialty Dogs. “The dog simply extends the capabilities. The scent discriminating abilities of a canine are better than any equipment we can take to a fire scene when arson is suspected.”
Each K-9 is tested that it can discriminate among a wide variety of odors. The dogs are a great aid to the fire investigation. They are right a high percentage of the time.
“A few years ago, arson investigators would spend days, perhaps even weeks, sifting through evidence at the scene of a suspected arson,” said Gallagher. “Today, with the help of a canine, they can do the work in just a matter of a few hours. From a management standpoint, in this day and age of doing more with less, that’s very important.”
Law enforcement agencies seeking to obtain a dog through the program should be responding to at least 50 structure fires in their area each year. Law enforcement agencies that participate in the program must be willing to invest the time and effort necessary to make it work successfully.
“This isn’t a program that’s here today and gone tomorrow. We’re looking at a commitment that could be five or 10 years long,” Gallagher said.
For more information about the Arson Dog Program visit www.arsondog.org
About State Farm®:
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.