Marion Fire Department Arson Detection K9, “Jersey,” has officially completed her services and retired after nearly seven years of working over 400 arson cases in Grant County and across the state.
Officially retired as of January 31st, 2022, the nine-year-old yellow Lab Retriever can rest and relax knowing she has served and exceled in her training of detecting 61 unique accelerants, bringing about 100 of the 400+ cases towards justice.
Jersey was the 2nd Arson Dog obtained through a State Farm Insurance grant in which MFD was fortunate to bring her on board. She was the only one through the program in Indiana between 2015 and 2020. The distinction resulted in many hours of call to cross county lines and even state lines to work crucial cases of suspected arson. She and her handler, now Dep. Chief Brandon Eckstein, have worked cases with the FBI and ATF.
Thanks to State Farm, CIE, American Woodmark, Gerber, Petco, and many more community donors, Jersey was well-equipped and kept safe, healthy, and strong throughout her career.
Eckstein said Jersey not only did phenomenal work over the years, but taught him a few life lessons. “She taught me patience. We would be at the scene for hours and would wait patiently for the safe opportunity to investigate. She also helped me build confidence in public speaking.” He cited more benefits of having Jersey as a partner through public events. “She would grab the attention of kids for longer periods in order for them to absorb fire prevention material, and was great with the public.”
In retirement, Jersey will continue to make occasional public appearances. Eckstein explained that she is still very much a part of MFD like all of the other firefighters. She will also spend quality time at home in the Eckstein household.
The Department is looking into possibilities associated with continuing the Arson Dog program with a new K9, but have not made a decision to announce.
Fire Chief Paul David expressed great appreciation for Jersey and the Arson Dog program from the start. “When Brandon approached me seven years ago about bringing on an Arson Dog, I wasn’t skeptical at all knowing he would take all of the steps required. Jersey has been a priceless tool and a friend to everyone in the community.”