State still ranks as ‘medium-risk’
ST. JOSEPH, MO October 4, 2011 - The newest member of the St. Joseph Fire Department has a nose up on arsonists and is planning on using those skills to sniff out the causes of fires. The new investigator is accelerant detection K-9, "Phoenix". "Phoenix", a Labrador retriever, and his handler, Arson Investigator Jason Ziph, recently completed the five-week canine-accelerant detection school sponsored by State Farm Insurance® and certified by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
Jason and Phoenix will be introduced at a news conference:
WHEN: 11:00 a.m. Friday, October 7, 2011
WHERE: Council Chamber, City Hall, 1100 Frederick Avenue, St. Joseph, MO 64501
SPEAKER: St. Joseph Mayor Bill Falkner
Investigator Ziph and his partner Phoenix will complete a demonstration of their skills and be available for interview and photos.
The program is funded by State Farm Insurance Companies® and is available to fire departments and law enforcement agencies across the United States. Since its beginning in 1993, the program has placed more than 250 dogs in 43 states, three Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia. Two of those dogs are currently working in Missouri and are located in Kansas City and O'Fallon.
In 2009, more than 41,500 fires were intentionally set in the United States, causing over $792 million dollars in property damage and killing 170 civilians, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
"We want to help support the efforts of the fire department to douse arson fires in the St. Joseph area and put criminals behind bars," said State Farm Agency Field Executive Todd Baker. "The scope of arson goes beyond impacting insurance companies - it affects the personal and financial well-being of us all. Training dogs to detect accelerants at fire scenes saves time and money in arson investigations."
A few years ago, investigators could spend days or weeks sifting through rubble at a scene. Today, with a trained dog, the work can be done in a matter of hours.
"The dog extends the capabilities of the investigator," said Fire Chief Mike Dalsing. "The scent-discriminating abilities of a canine are better than any equipment we can take to a fire scene when arson is suspected. The canine will lead the investigator to the location of the accelerant, so the investigator can take a sample to the state's crime lab for analysis."
Jim Camoriano, State Farm Corporate Public Affairs, (573) 499-2452.
State Farm is the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 37 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.