From the President

A Message from:
George Harms

President-  International Association of Arson Investigators, West Virginia Chapter

I would like to thank the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), West Virginia Chapter, for the honor to serve as President for this coming year. I also want to thank President Jon Jorgensen, and the previous board of directors for the excellent job that they have done over the past year. I acknowledge that there have been some hurdles that they have had to overcome, which makes their achievements all the more significant. I especially want to thank Korri Powers for her untiring devotion to the organization. Without Korri, I truly believe that my job as President would be so much harder. I’m sure that past presidents would agree.

I have been a member of the WV IAAI for nine years. I recognize that nine years is not much time compared to the membership years of Bob Sullivan, O.G. Garrison, Steve Conley, Mark Lambert and Reed Cook and other members of this esteemed organization. I am amazed at the speed at which those years have passed. I remember my first conference with the West Virginia Chapter with Randy Watson as an instructor. Mr. Watson has served as the committee chairman accredited with writing the “National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.” I have been so impressed with this organization’s dedication to providing world class training to their membership. Over the years we have had ATF/FBI profilers, an ATF specialist of fuel-fired appliances, published instructor of Fire Origin Pattern Persistence, cell phone tracking experts, forensic experts, and criminal and civil lawyers who represent both the prosecution and the defense.

As President I want to keep the tradition of bringing in world class instructors to further train the investigators of the State of West Virginia. I can only do this with your cooperation, your input and your ideas. I truly have an open-door policy when it comes to advancing us as investigators. With this in mind, I will try to have one or two short 4 to 6-hour training classes at central locations throughout the year.

Another goal that I have is to increase membership and to increase the visibility of our organization on various media platforms. The more exposure we have, the better it is for our investigators.

Lastly, I hope to add new members to the organization. The only way to do this is by educating some of our young firefighters and law enforcement officers on how personally and professionally rewarding it is to serve the public as a fire investigator.

As Jeremy Bryant stated in his letter, “We are fortunate to have a very diverse membership from both the private and public sector who come together with the common goal of promoting training and providing resources for the betterment of all involved in the arson community.”

I end this letter with the motto of the West Virginia fire investigation division “per cuius ignis et cinis sumus veritatem quaerere”
“We seek truth through the fire and ashes.”

God Bless

George Harms