Arson Strike Force

WHEREAS: a recent annual statistical compilation reveals that, in 1994, 846 of the fires in this state were given the label of "suspicious fire" by the State Fire Marshal;

WHEREAS: to date, the cause of a large percentage of those "suspicious fires" remains unknown;

WHEREAS: those "suspicious fires" destroyed over $6,700,000 in property, resulting in a waste of this state's valuable resources, contributing to escalating insurance premium costs for Louisiana citizens, and causing emotional havoc to those suffering losses of life and/or property due to those blazes;

WHEREAS: it would be beneficial to local fire departments to have a resource such as a group of skilled arson investigators that can be called upon whenever their expertise and investigative skills are needed in tackling nonroutine arson investigations; and

WHEREAS: arson investigation specialists, from a variety of state and federal agencies, have consented to share their skills, expertise, and resources by being a part of an operational body that can be quickly mobilized to assist local fire departments in determining the cause of problematic, suspicious fires;

NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1: The Governor's Arson Strike Force (hereafter "Strike Force") is established within the Executive Department, Office of the Governor.

SECTION 2: The duties of the Strike Force shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A. at the invitation of a local fire department or official, to assist the local fire department in determining the cause and/or perpetrator(s) of a suspicious fire, by providing prompt investigative assistance and by availing their expertise, skills, and resources to the local fire department, so that a state-of-the-art investigation of the circumstances surrounding the fire can be made; and

  • B. to compile information about arsonists, arson prevention, and arson investigation techniques for the education and benefit of fire departments throughout the State of Louisiana.
  • SECTION 3: The Strike Force shall consist of no more than 20 members who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Membership of the Strike Force shall be composed as follows:

  • A. the State Fire Marshal, or the Fire Marshal's designee;

  • B. the Superintendent of the Department of Public Safety, or the Superintendent's designee;

  • C. the Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or the Assistant Secretary's designee;

  • D. the Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, or the Assistant Secretary's designee;

  • E. the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner, or the Insurance Commissioner's designee;

  • F. the Executive Director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, or the Executive Director's designee;

  • G. the Executive Director of the Louisiana Sheriffs Association, or the Executive Director's designee;

  • H. the Executive Director of the Chiefs of Police Association, or the Executive Director's designee;

  • I. at least one arson investigator from a private insurance company;

  • J. at least one arson investigator and/or other representative from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms;

  • K. at least one arson investigator and/or representative from the Federal Bureau of Investigation;

  • L. at least two arson investigators from municipal fire departments within the State of Louisiana; and

  • M. at least one at-large member.
  • SECTION 4: The Chair of the Strike Force shall be appointed by the Governor from its membership.

    SECTION 5: The Strike Force shall report its progress annually to the Governor, by January 5th of each year.

    SECTION 6: Strike Force members shall not receive compensation or a per diem for their services, nor shall they be reimbursed for travel expenses.

    SECTION 7: Support staff for the Strike Force, and facilities for their meetings, shall be provided by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

    SECTION 8: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Strike Force in implementing the provisions of this Order.

    SECTION 9: The provisions of this Order are effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge on this 16th day of October, 1996.

    M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.

    Fox McKeithen
    Secretary of State