Hattiesburg, Mississippi (August 6, 2012) - Forrest County fire investigators will soon have a new four legged tool in their fight against arson. On August 13th, Marion Sims, Deputy and Fire Investigator with the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department, will begin accelerant detection training in Maine with his new K-9 partner. Once Deputy Sims and his K-9 complete the four week State Farm sponsored training program and are certified by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, they will be available for service in Forrest County and the surrounding area. Arson is one of the most expensive property claims in the United States. Each year billions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of lives are lost as a result of fires set by arsonists. That is why State Farm® teams up with law enforcement from across the nation and supports the Arson Dog program.
"As the nation’s largest property and casualty insurance company, State Farm is committed to helping law enforcement in developing and implementing programs that help curb crimes like arson and fraud," says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson. "Fraud is costly to us all and when you add on indirect costs such as lost jobs, lost property tax revenue, higher insurance premiums and tax money spent to investigate and prosecute arson cases that cost jumps even higher," he says.
State Farm agent Ted Cannon, who has an office in Petal, Mississippi, was instrumental in helping Deputy Sims apply for the State Farm sponsored arson dog program. "I’m very proud that State Farm is able to provide another valuable resource to the Hattiesburg community," says Cannon. Deputy Sims will return from Maine with his new K-9 partner in September.
Insurance fraud costs the property-casualty insurance industry – and its customers – about $30 billion a year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates. Fraud adds about $200 to $300 annually to insurance premiums paid by the average American household.
Since starting the arson dog program in 1993, State Farm has paid to train more than 300 dog and handler teams in 44 states, the District of Columbia and 3 Canadian provinces.
For more information about the Arson Dog Program visit the Web site at www.arsondog.org.
Roszell Gadson, Media Relations (770) 418-5940
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