Arson Investigation and Forensic Science

Date
2020
Authors
Pray, Ronald Wayne
Journal Title
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Volume Title
Publisher
Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)
Abstract
Description
Law Enforcement agencies are charged with investigating and prosecuting fires and Arson related crimes. Fire and Arson Investigators have not always utilized forensic science to investigate fires. The old investigation methods that have been invalidated by science must be discarded and when investigating fires only proven scientific evaluation should be utilized. Law enforcement Agencies should ensure arson investigators are properly trained in forensic arson science and maintain that level of training. Proper utilization of forensic arson science utilized during investigations will eliminate fire investigations, myths, wise tails, and folklore that have been handed down over the years from investigator to investigator. Also Fire investigators should be required to meet training and continuing education standards related to National Fire Protection Association Standards 1033 (Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator) and NFPA 921 (Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations). Law enforcement agencies must ensure their investigators learn and utilize these new forensic arson standards and maintain their training so that when conducting investigations, it will eliminate false arrests and prosecutions that are based on unproven or unreliable data and evidence. Ensuring that the guilty party is properly charged and prosecuted and the case is backed on scientifically proven facts will also ensure false convictions and show that expert witness testimony is based on provable facts instead of false science.
Keywords
Police Fire Investigation, Arson Investigation, Fire Investigation
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