Two Clayton County firefighters have completed the arson investigator certification program taught by the Georgia Police Academy Division of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth.
Lt. William M. Cowart, and Sgt. Joshua B. Nisoff are now certified arson investigators. Cowart is an inspector and fire investigator. Nisboff is an investigator.
The 160-hour certification program is accredited by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, and qualifies for certifications under both the Georgia Peace Officer, and Firefighter Standards and Training councils.
The program instructs students on the fundamental aspects of fire and arson investigation.
It is taught by experienced arson investigators and is one of the most comprehensive arson-investigation courses available, officials said. Topics include: Behavior of fire, motivation of the fire setter, photography, evidence collection, point of origin, interview and interrogation techniques, electrical fire causes, gas fire causes, and courtroom demeanor.
Students demonstrate their knowledge by participating in a number of practical exercises using actual arson crime scenes, spending time preparing written investigative reports, and documenting their investigative methods in preparation for the judicial process, according to fire officials.
The program is supported, in part, by the Georgia Arson Control Program; the Georgia Fire Investigators Association; the International Association of Arson Investigators; the U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; fire departments from Gwinnett and Cobb counties; the Georgia Forestry Commission; the Georgia State Fire Marshall's Office; the GBI Division of Forensic Sciences; the Georgia Crime Information Center; the DeKalb County District Attorney's Office; Cunningham and Associates, and State Farm Insurance.