RURAL Arson Control
Skills in conducting criminal investigations are of special importance to arson investigators in rural areas who must often work alone. No systematic national analysis of state arson investigator training requirements has ever been made.
Some of the areas where improved skills were sought by investigators contacted in the four study areas included:
interrogation/interview technique; report writing; evidence collection legal issues.
Investigators cited high caseloads, lack of agency support, and non-availability of local training sites as barriers to obtaining additional training in these areas.
Arson Control Expert Concurrence
At least one state requires arson investigators to complete forty Continuing Education Units every three years.
Conduct a national assessment of investigative requirements for state arson investigators that would lead to recommendations that would help local and state agencies review their own requirements and determine if additional training requirements were warranted.
Investigator performance is directly affected by the availability of appropriate investigative equipment and supplies.
In two of the four sites surveyed, the state investigators were not provided with even basic investigative equipment. Some examples of basic equipment short- ages included:
hand-me-down cars prone to breaking down cars too small to transport basic investigative equipment state agencies not issuing even simple hand tools (shovels, rakes, sifting gear), turn-out protective equipment, and specialized evidence storage bags, cans etc.
More sophisticated devices like hydrocarbon detectors were simply not pro- vided to individual investigators. State investigators pointed out the need for portable generators to supply lighting on scene and hand-held dictation equip