CFO and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater Welcomes Two New K-9s to Division of State Fire Marshal Team
Contact: Chris Cate
(850) 413- 2842
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater today announced the addition of two new specially trained canines to the Division of State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations K-9 Unit. K-9s “Bailey” and “Booker” join five dogs that are trained to detect common accelerants at fire scenes.
“We are proud to have such smart and talented dogs join our team and to have handlers eager to work with and care for them like family,” said CFO Atwater. “Our K-9 unit has been instrumental in the arrest and prosecution of arsonists throughout Florida, and I am excited to see how these new dogs will advance our mission to make Florida a safer place to live.”
K-9 Bailey, a veteran of the City of Knoxville, Tennessee, joins handler Travis Kincaid in the Pensacola office. K-9 Booker, a new recruit, joins handler Jeff Batz in the Lake Wales office. Together they join K-9 Fresca and handler David Young in Jacksonville, K-9 Penzy and handler Amelia Bowling-Hitchcock in Daytona, K-9 Brandon and handler Jayson Deese in Panama City, K-9 Ember and handler Ross Holt in Plantation, and SFM’s explosives detection K-9 Bella and her handler Monty Taylor.
K-9 Booker has already proven to be a valuable member of the K-9 unit. He recently participated in an investigation that led to the arrest of a Polk County man on charges associated with the possession of a fire bomb.
The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations implemented the K-9 accelerant detection program in 1998 with financial and technical support through State Farm Insurance Company’s national Arson Dog Training Program, which has helped train more than 325 dogs to work in 44 states. This program funds scholarships used to offset the training and lodging expenses associated with each dog and handler’s five week intensive training at the Maine State Criminal Justice Academy.
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, 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 state spending.