House Resolution No 486

Offered by Representatives Hoffman - Mitchell - Moffitt -
Holbrook and Michael Smith

WHEREAS, Thousands of fires destroy residential and commercial property in Illinois and place a serious threat to the life and safety of individuals; and

WHEREAS, It is truly unfortunate that hundreds of fires are deliberately set by arsonists across the State; and

WHEREAS, The State Fire Marshal's Office is responsible for investigating suspicious fires and maintains a staff of only nineteen to conduct such investigations in the field; and

WHEREAS, The response time it takes to investigate a suspicious fire is an important factor in preserving critical evidence that may help determine whether a fire was set by an arsonist; and

WHEREAS, It was recently reported that many arson cases are not investigated in a timely and effective manner by the State Fire Marshal's Office and rarely do the arson findings lead to criminal charges; and

WHEREAS, The House Public Safety Appropriations Committee recently reviewed the operations of the State Fire Marshal's Office and revealed that the agency maintains an overtime policy that awards time off for compensation instead of payment, which could lead to less field time for investigations; and

WHEREAS, The State Fire Marshal issued a protocol statement to the 1,209 local fire departments in Illinois that outlines the types of fires that would get priority for arson investigations; therefore be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETIETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that the House directs the Auditor General to conduct a management audit of the State Fire Marshal's role in fire investigations, including a review of the timeliness of the Fire Marshal's investigations and policy or protocol statements and the agency's utilization of overtime compensation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the State Fire Marshal's Office and any other entities having information rele~ant to this audit shall cooperate fully with the Auditor General In the conduct of this audit; and be it further
State or other and promptly

RESOLVED, That the Auditor General commence this audit as soon as possible and report his findings and recommendations upon completion in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois State Auditing Act; and be it further

RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be presented to the Auditor General and the State Fire Marshal.

Adopted by the House of Representatives on May 21, 1998.