RURAL Arson Control
be based on insurance company subscriptions.
The program currently has a van with equipment and is trying to arrange another. They also have been able to obtain some complimentary investigative equipment from manufacturers who want to have their products displayed and/or tested in the field. One fire dept provides support for the van and supplies the driver (in-kind donation).
Another program approach that has been implemented successfully is the fire prevention cooperative. The concept entails formation of a joint business/ government organization made up of representatives of firms and agencies concerned with fire prevention in the target area. It is a multi-level, inter- jurisdictional approach that emphasizes increased public awareness as a means of preventing man-caused fires.
The first such program we are aware of is the Rogue Valley, Oregon, Fire Prevention Cooperative. Formed in 1976, the cooperative has served as a model for similar programs in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. There are currently 16 such coops in the northwest (principally in forested areas) and two in Oklahoma. Similar programs have been attempted in Arkansas and Alabama with limited success.
All of the coops encountered thus far have been in forested areas where wild- land fires area particular problem. In practice, they are used to reduce both wild- land and structural man-caused fires, whether incendiary or accidental.
Liaison With Law Enforcement Agencies
Arson investigators need to cultivate and maintaingood working relations with other area law enforcement personnel.
In rural areas in particular, arson investigators must rely on the resources of other agencies for support services (crime scene technician, polygraphs, access to professional journals, legal decisions, intelligencesources, etc.). This requires that they develop and maintain good relations with agencies that have these resources.
By maintaining effective working relationships with law enforcement agencies in the area, fire investigators can have access to this information at the least cost to the public. Having to rely on another agency’s resources may have the beneficial effect of bringing about better working relationships. For example, in two instances state investigators figuratively camped out in another agency’s office space (in one case a state police barracks, in another a fire departments headquarters.) In both instances, sharing office space strengthened the working relationships