The newest member of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 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, Pippa. Pippa, a Goldador, and her handler, Arson Investigator, Agent Brett Ellis, completed the five week canine-accelerant detection school sponsored by State Farm Insurance® and certified by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in May.
Agent Ellis and K-9 Pippa will be introduced at a media event at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at the Pueblo Fire Department (PFD), Station 4 (2201 Lake Avenue) during the PFD’s open house at its new facility. Agent Ellis and K-9 Pippa will complete a demonstration of their skills and be available for interview and photos during the open house. The media event will also include speakers from CBI, the Pueblo Fire Department and State Farm Insurance. Guests will be treated to tours of the station, and great grub grilled by firefighters.
The Arson Dog 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 300 dogs in 44 states, three Canadian provinces and the District of Columbia. The CBI utilizes two arson dog teams: Agent Ellis and K-9 Pippa and Agent Jerry Means and K-9 Sadie.
“Accelerant detection K-9s extend the capabilities of the agents assigned to investigate these complex, and sometimes expansive, crime scenes, and provide an exceptional resource for our stakeholders,” said CBI Director Ron Sloan.
In 2009, over 41,500 intentionally set fires were set in the United States causing over $792 million dollars in property damage and killing 170 civilians according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“We want to help support the efforts of the CBI to douse arson fires across Colorado and put criminals behind bars,” said State Farm Claims Team Manager Lydia Martinez. “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 less than an hour.
For more information about the Arson Dog Program visit the Web site at www.arsondog.org.