Press Release

Jersey Retires from MFD as Arson Dog after Nearly 7 Years, Leaving Big Tracks to Fill Share

Feb 28, 2022  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

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.

Jersey Composite Photo

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.”

Jersey pup

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