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NC Gets More Arson Detection Dogs

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Joel is one of the SBI's newest investigative recruits.
RALEIGH — In response to a recent series of suspiciousfires, the State Bureau of Investigation has doubled its force in a highlyspecialized area. Until Friday, there were only two arson detection dogsfor the entire state, but now, there are some new K-9 investigators whoare ready to fetch clues.

One new SBI recruit only needs to hear one word and he springs intoaction. It's just a test, but Joel, the flammable accelerant detectiondog, shows why the top dogs at the bureau are glad he's here.

Joel is led by a cluster of cans. Each can has the remnants ofsomething burnt in it, but only one has a trace of gasoline.

It doesn't take Joel long to figure out which one. Special Agent ErnieBueker says arson is Joel's game.

Humans had a lot of work to do when a suspicious fire gutted the oldHope Valley School in Durham County. Investigators eventually solved that arson case, but now, some furry, four-legged fire investigators areavailable to do the work for departments all over the Triangle. Raleigh'sDistrict Chief Tommy Ann Styons says they can use the help.

Joining Joel in the Arson Dog ranks is Cassidy. The two law enforcinglabs are the first to be trained in North Carolina. They're ready tocollar criminals, and they work for next to nothing.

While the arson dogs work cheap, their overall cost is also veryreasonable. Agents can buy, train and get them into the ranks for about $1,000 per dog.

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