NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KLAS) — North Las Vegas Fire Department’s newest member has four legs and a keen sense of smell.
K9 Jersey, a 2-year-old female yellow Labrador retriever, is the department’s first “accelerant detection specialist,” with an emphasis in arson crime.
Jersey and Fire Investigator/K9 handler Captain Darcy Loewen recently graduated from the State Farm Arson Dog Training Program in New Hampshire.
The program has placed more than 425 dogs in 46 states, three Canadian provinces, and the District of Columbia in fire departments and law enforcement agencies across the United States.
Fire Investigator Loewen and Jersey will be participating in investigations immediately.
The team will also conduct public demonstrations showcasing K9 Jersey’s accelerant detection sniffing abilities at schools various community safety events.
K9 Jersey is one of two arson dogs in service in Nevada; the other, K9 Boston, serves in Reno.
“Jersey is ready to serve our residents,” said Loewen. “She has proven she’s up to the task, and I’m excited to be working with my new partner.”
An estimated 280,000 intentional fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year, with associated annual losses of 420 civilian deaths, 1,360 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Arson dogs played a key role in helping to determine the cause of many of these fires.
For more information about the Arson Dog Program visit the website at www.arsondog.org.