skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 127086 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Arson Investigation: Connecticut's Canines
Journal: Police Chief  Volume:57  Issue:12  Dated:(December 1990)  Pages:38,40-42,44-45
Author(s): A F Berluti
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Program Description (Demonstrative)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The mechanical hydrocarbon detector, despite its lack of specificity and often misleading readings, was once the best tool for investigating fires; now, specially trained canines are doing the job with considerable success.
Abstract: A 1982 experiment with a yellow Labrador retriever had established that a canine could be conditioned to respond to accelerant odor with greater sensitivity than current detection devices and could differentiate between accelerants and similar chemical gases normally present at a fire scene. A black female Labrador retriever, "Mattie," began training May 1, 1986 for field work. As her training expanded, her ability to distinguish different odors improved, and from June 1, 1987 to May 30, 1988, she was called to 61 fire scenes, mostly of suspicious origin. To date she has worked over 315 investigations in other states as well as in Connecticut. In one case, she picked an 18-year-old suspect out of a crowd of spectators watching a 4-alarm fire. Mattie's success led to another canine, "Solo," being employed. These canines produce a 95-percent success rate on samples taken from fire scenes and use fewer samples than the previous method which produced a 40-percent success rate. The use of canines can result in fewer lab submittals and minimal false-positive findings.
Main Term(s): Arson squads; Police dogs
Index Term(s): Arson investigations; Connecticut
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.