FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Dynamic Plaques - FVT Plaques
FVT Plaques is introducing new dynamic plaques to recognize police and sheriff's...

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

Features

Don’t Get Burned

Every good patrol officer needs to know how to respond to and facilitate the investigation of a fire.

November 01, 2008  |  by Matt Smith and Justin Gipson

Once the area of the fire is no longer deemed a "crime scene," the owner and/or person responsible may enter the scene and allow others inside for an independent evaluation or investigation. The insured party cannot refuse access to an insurance investigator or agent from his or her insurance company. Refusal or non-cooperation could give the insurance company the right to deny a claim.

If an independent insurance investigator or technician arrives, you may advise him or her of the events that took place and point out potentially noteworthy information (unless it could damage the police or criminal investigation). Doing so may actually save your agency in a subrogation lawsuit, if one is later filed by the insurance company. This type of lawsuit is typically filed over a claim that your investigation spoiled evidence that the insurer needed to determine the credibility of the claim.

It's true—an agency can actually be sued or caught in the middle of a lawsuit for doing a fire investigation, especially if something questionable happens that is beyond the scope of expertise for personnel at the scene.

For example, an insurance company may blame a clothes dryer manufacturer if a malfunction could have started the fire. If a law enforcement officer attempts to disassemble the dryer to find fault, the manufacturer will then blame your agency, citing that it cannot prove what really happened because evidence was tampered with. When in doubt, thoroughly photograph the item and any outlet it is connected to.

Responding to fire scenes is a bit different than a typical crime scene. However, if you maintain the basic principles of investigation and also follow your training and instincts, you'll be fine.

Every fire you respond to will be a great learning experience. It may also sharpen your everyday crime scene investigation skills and teach you to "think outside the box."

Det. Matt Smith investigates arson and financial crimes with the Chula Vista (Calif.) Police Department. He has served as both an academy and a field training officer. Credentialed by NAFI as a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI), he also holds a master's of science degree in homeland security and bachelor of science degree in criminal justice.

Fire Marshal Justin Gipson directs the fire prevention and investigative division for the Chula Vista (Calif.) Fire Department. He is credentialed by both NAFI and the California State Fire Marshal's Office as a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI). Gipson holds a bachelor's of science degree with a minor in fire science technology and is pursuing a second bachelor's degree in fire safety and engineering.

«   Page 3 of 3   »

Request more info about this product / service / company


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Stories

Police Product Test: AE Light AEX35/50 HID Searchlight
This is a searchlight. It is designed to blast a wide beacon of daylight over a very long...
Police Product Test: Dickies Men's Stretch Ripstop Tactical Pants
Dickies' Ripstop Tactical Pants retain the rugged functionality that has made Dickies...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine