Fire Investigators for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office are assigned to the Emergency Services Division under the direction of Commander John Padgett. With the passage of 1A in 2012, the Sheriff’s Office was able to add a second full time position bringing the number of full time investigators to two. Investigators have a variety of experience and backgrounds including law enforcement, hazardous materials and firefighting.
Fire Investigators work a full time schedule and also maintain an on-call schedule which makes an investigator available to respond to fire scenes 24 hours a day. Fire Investigators support 22 fire districts in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County and are available for mutual aid requests for municipalities in El Paso County as well as surrounding counties. Fire Investigators maintain national certifications from the National Association of Fire Investigators and the International Association of Arson Investigators. They attend continuing education to maintain their certifications and obtain information on advances and trends in the field of fire investigations. Fire Investigators maintain close working relationships with fire investigators from the US Forest Service, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, ATF, and local municipalities. The quality of these relationships has enhanced our ability to share information and call on additional resources during the recent large fires which have occurred in this area.
Fire Investigators respond to fire scenes where they conduct interviews, process fire scenes and collect evidence in an effort to determine the origin and cause of a fire. If the cause of the fire is determined to be incendiary, investigators work to identify suspects and develop the case with the ultimate goal of a successful prosecution. In the event of a non criminal fire, investigators work to identify the cause or responsible party.