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Jonas, Timothy R. and Bueker, Ernie. Accelerant Detection Canines: Uses and Misuses. Charlotte Fire Investigation Task Force. April, 1998

Abstract: This article discusses the development of the accelerant detection canine teams and how they are used. After the canine is trained, he assumes a "sit" position when exposed to an accelerant and is then rewarded with food. A canine is an invaluable tool to fire investigators because they identify the exact locations to collect samples. Samples collected on the advice of a canine usually yield a positive result from the crime laboratory. Although canines are very accurate, they will never replace an experienced investigator because a canine cannot prove a crime has been committed.

Canines are useful in several ways including fire scene searches, equipment searches, vehicle searches, crowd searches, clothing searches, and area searches. A canine can examine twice the area a fire investigator can, saving him valuable time.

There are also misuses of the canine. Although a canine is 100% accurate in its daily training activities, a canine is not infallible when it comes to blind searches in the field. An investigator must receive confirmation of his canine alerts. The most common misuse of the canine is to rely solely on the dog's indications. If the evidence is not tested to confirm the canine's alerts, it will not be admitted into evidence at trial.

For more information, contact:
The Charlotte Fire Investigation Task Force
1215 South Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: (704) 336-3970 or 336-3979
Fax: (704) 336-3972

 
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