STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) — Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard announced the graduation and certification of canine Jack and handler Investigator Don Lewis today.
Jack and investigator Lewis graduated on Friday, May 13, 2022, at the NYS Fire Academy in Montour Falls.
Jack, the canine, is named in honor of Canisteo Volunteer Firefighter Jack Kelley, who was killed in the line of duty by an intoxicated driver. His handler, investigator Lewis, is also the current Canisteo Volunteer Fire Department Chief. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Jack is certified to identify over thirty ignitable liquids.
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Steuben County Office of Emergency Management, investigates approximately fifty suspicious fires annually. Investigator Lewis is the lead investigator on approximately two-thirds of these cases for the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office says that the addition of an accelerant detection canine provides Steuben County police and fire services with another valuable tool to use at these scenes, and it “Increases efficiency while utilizing best practices.”
Sheriff Allard thanks the Steuben County Sheriff’s Foundation for providing funding for all additional costs to train and supply canine Jack. Sheriff Allard also thanks the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services for supporting this program and supplying this training and canine.