WHEREAS: to date, the cause of a large percentage of those "suspicious fires" remains unknown;
WHEREAS: those "suspicious fires" destroyed over $6,700,000 in property, resulting in a waste of this state's valuable resources, contributing to escalating insurance premium costs for Louisiana citizens, and causing emotional havoc to those suffering losses of life and/or property due to those blazes;
WHEREAS: it would be beneficial to local fire departments to have a resource such as a group of skilled arson investigators that can be called upon whenever their expertise and investigative skills are needed in tackling nonroutine arson investigations; and
WHEREAS: arson investigation specialists, from a variety of state and federal agencies, have consented to share their skills, expertise, and resources by being a part of an operational body that can be quickly mobilized to assist local fire departments in determining the cause of problematic, suspicious fires;
NOW THEREFORE I, M.J. "MIKE" FOSTER, JR., Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: The Governor's Arson Strike Force (hereafter "Strike Force") is established within the Executive Department, Office of the Governor.
SECTION 2: The duties of the Strike Force shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
SECTION 3: The Strike Force shall consist of no more than 20 members who shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Membership of the Strike Force shall be composed as follows:
SECTION 4: The Chair of the Strike Force shall be appointed by the Governor from its membership.
SECTION 5: The Strike Force shall report its progress annually to the Governor, by January 5th of each year.
SECTION 6: Strike Force members shall not receive compensation or a per diem for their services, nor shall they be reimbursed for travel expenses.
SECTION 7: Support staff for the Strike Force, and facilities for their meetings, shall be provided by the State Fire Marshal's Office.
SECTION 8: All departments, commissions, boards, agencies, and officers of the state, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Strike Force in implementing the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 9: The provisions of this Order are effective upon signature and shall remain in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Louisiana at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge on this 16th day of October, 1996.
M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Secretary of State