TDA EMPLOYEE NAMED ARSON INVESTIGATOR OF THE YEAR
Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 8:02 pm
“I feel honored to have received this award and brought recognition to the TDA Ag Crime Unit,” said Whaley. “Arson is a serious and potentially deadly crime and can cost taxpayers thousands of dollars. Likewise, hay fires can cost farmers several thousands of dollars.”
Whaley, while investigating multiple hay fires, had discovered some discrepancies in regards to arson and spontaneous combustion of hay. He recently obtained grants and conducted experiments on the causes of hay fires and how they are investigated. The results of this study have changed the way hay fires are now investigated. Whaley’s dedication and diligence in pursuing the investigation of hay fires contributed to him receiving this award.
Whaley, from Manchester, Tenn., has worked for TDA for more than 20 years. He joined the TDA’s Agricultural Crime Unit in 2002. The Agricultural Crime Unit investigates wildfire arson, livestock theft and other farm crimes and criminal activities on state forest lands. They also enforce state laws, rules and regulations relating to the import of animals, animal diseases, use of state forests and other areas regulated by TDA.
Tennessee Advisory Committee on Arson is a collaborative group of arson investigators that encourages high professional standards of conduct and communicates to the public the extent, severity and seriousness of arson. The committee also funds and operates the arson hotline.
Burning without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50. Wildfires caused by arson are a class C felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines. Anyone with information about suspected arson activity should call the state Fire Marshal’s Arson Hotline toll-free at 1-800-762-3017. Rewards up to $1,500 are available for tips leading to a conviction. Callers can remain anonymous.
For more information about the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture.
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