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Division Director

Julius Halas

Assistant Division Director

Melvin Stone


200 East Gaines Street,
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0322

 

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Reaccreditation of the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations
Contact CFO Atwater's Press Office
(850) 413-2842

Tallahassee - Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the reaccreditation of the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations. The Bureau earned reaccreditation status from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (CFA), an agency committed to ensuring the highest standards of professionalism for Florida law enforcement agencies.

"Reviews like this give our divisions an opportunity to ensure that we are meeting the highest possible standards," CFO Atwater said. "These results would not be possible without the incredible dedication that the men and women in the Bureau have to serving their fellow Floridians, and I am proud to congratulate them on earning reaccreditation."

A team of six CFA assessors evaluated the Bureau's compliance with 250 law enforcement-specific standards. After conducting an in-depth review of all procedural aspects, the assessment team unanimously recommended that the Bureau be reaccredited, saying, “The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a well-organized, professional organization. Their accreditation files were impeccable. Each member was able to clearly articulate what their roles and duties were, which were in perfect compliance with all applicable standards.”

Accreditation increases the agency’s ability to prevent and control crime through more effective and efficient delivery of law enforcement services to the community.


 

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of a Bay County Man Charged with Grand Theft and Arson
Contact: Alexis Lambert or Deborah Jamison
(850) 413-2842
December 21, 2012

TALLAHASSEE— Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Shawn Blaine Robidoux, of Bay County, after a joint investigation involving the State Fire Marshal Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation (BFAI), the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Lynn Haven Police & Fire departments determined that Robidoux had stolen a vehicle and set it on fire.

“This investigation is a prime example of our law enforcement’s commitment to bringing criminals to justice no matter where they try to hide,” CFO Atwater said. “I applaud the hard work of our investigators and the local law enforcement agencies who worked together to track down this criminal.”

On Oct. 31, 2012, the Lynn Haven Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames in a wooded area near the intersection of Sallie Mae Drive and Arthur Drive in Lynn Haven, FL. The investigation revealed that Robidoux had stolen the vehicle and used it for joyriding for several days before removing the tires to sell, abandoning the vehicle and setting it on fire.

On Dec. 20, 2012, Robidoux was located in Polk County where he was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail, awaiting extradition to Bay County. Robidoux is charged with three counts of grand theft, one count of grand theft auto and one count of second-degree arson. If convicted, Robidoux faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $58,000.

To report arson, call 1-877-No-Arson (1-877-662-7766) or visit http://www.fightarson.com/report_arson.htm. A reward of up to $5,000 may be paid by the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention for a tip that leads directly to an arrest and conviction.


Members of the Public Invited to Comment on Accreditation for the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations
CONTACT: Deborah Jamison
(850) 413-2842
November 16, 2012

TALLAHASSEE - A team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) are scheduled to examine the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI) for reaccreditation December 11-13, 2012. As part of the on-site assessment, members of the community are invited to offer written comments about the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations’ ability to meet the standards of accreditation. Please write: CFA, P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida 32302 or email info@flaccreditation.org. A copy of the standards is available at: http://www.flaccreditation.org

BFAI was initially accredited on February 3, 2010. The voluntary process to gain reaccreditation requires the continued maintenance of policies and procedures within state law enforcement guidelines and requires compliance with established standards. An accredited agency must conform to best practices and prove adherence to legal, operational, and administrative processes designed to protect the taxpayers from unnecessary liabilities, better train and equip staff, and provide a higher level of service to the community. Every three years the Bureau must be reevaluated by the CFA to ensure compliance with all required standards.

The CFA Assessment Team includes personnel from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Site visits will be completed in Jacksonville, Plantation and Orlando by personnel from the Neptune Beach Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.


Florida CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater Applauds Conviction of Jacksonville Man in Apartment Complex Fire
Contact: Anna Alexopoulos
(850) 413-2842
September 24, 2012

TALLAHASSEE—Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today applauded the conviction of Christopher Koepke, 31, of Jacksonville, for arson and insurance fraud after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for setting multiple fires at the Columns Apartments. The arrest was the result of an investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud and Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“Arson puts our citizens’ lives at risk, and insurance fraud costs us all through higher premiums and the impact to our state’s economy,” CFO Atwater said. “I commend everyone involved in this investigation for their quick and thorough work resulting in this successful prosecution.”

On Sept. 15, 2011, Koepke set fires that involved five vehicles and a 12 unit apartment building. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded to the fires. An investigation revealed that the fire was intentionally set. Just one day prior to the fire, Koepke obtained a renter’s insurance policy and requested coverage for contents that was above the standard amount of $50,000. He later filed an insurance claim for the damage.

This case is part of a continuing crackdown by CFO Atwater’s Division of Insurance Fraud and State Fire Marshal partnering with federal agencies in the fight against arson and insurance fraud in Florida.

Anyone with information about this or any other incident of suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Citizens who provide tips can remain anonymous and may be rewarded up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme. To report arson, call 1-877-No-Arson (1-877-662-7766) or visit http://www.facap.org/ReportArson.cfm. A reward of up to $5,000 may be paid by the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention for a tip that leads directly to an arrest and conviction.


Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.