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Dutchess County to Expand Successful J-FIRE Program

Published: 9/8/2017

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000


Poughkeepsie...Dutchess County is expanding its successful J-FIRE Program with several additional law enforcement agencies and fire departments signing on to participate. J-FIREmatch stick fire, or Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Response and Education, was launched in 2016 as a comprehensive, non-punitive multi-disciplinary approach to addressing the problem of juvenile fire setting through early identification, assessment, education, and intervention in an effort to protect lives and property. A resolution will be considered by the Dutchess County Legislature at their September 11th board meeting to expand the current intermunicipal agreement to increase the number of participating agencies from 14 to 21.

The program utilizes a collaborative approach consisting of teams of local law enforcement, firefighters, probation officers and mental health clinicians who have received J-FIRE training as Intervention Specialists to identify and address juvenile fire setting behavior in order to increase safety for children and their families. Program services are available to youth between the ages of 3 and 17 who reside, attend school, or exhibit fire setting behavior in Dutchess County.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “The J-FIRE Program has been successful in preventing fire setting behavior and educating youth in our community on the dangers this type of behavior can have on themselves and others. This resolution would provide for further expansion of program services and training by enabling County staff, fire and police personnel the ability to assist additional families and children throughout Dutchess County.”

Since the program’s inception last year, 25 cases have been referred to the program. Of those, 23 were male and two were female, with 44% of the cases involving children ages 12-14 years old. Youth were connected with J-FIRE Intervention Specialists from all across Dutchess County. No new fire-related incidents have been reported to date for youth who participated in the J-FIRE program.

“I fully support the expansion of critical, life-saving services and resources to children and families in Dutchess County.  This program has seen success thus far in preventing fire-related incidents, and we are grateful to the additional agencies for signing on to deliver life-saving tools to promote fire safety and prevent tragedies,” said Dutchess County Legislator John Metzger.

The intermunicipal agreement for the J-FIRE Program includes the following Dutchess County departments and local agencies:
• Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office
• Department of Emergency Response
• Department of Law
• Office of Probation & Community Corrections
• Department of Behavioral & Community Health
• Department of Community & Family Services
• Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office
• Astor Services for Children and Families
• Town of East Fishkill Police Department
• Town of Hyde Park Police Department
• Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department
• City of Poughkeepsie Police Department
• Fairview Fire Department
• LaGrange Fire Department

Agencies requesting to be added to the agreement as part of the resolution include:
• City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department
• Village of Rhinebeck Police Department
• Town of Fishkill Police Department
• Village of Fishkill Police Department
• City of Beacon Fire and Police Departments (in discussions)
• New York State Police

Majority Leader of the Dutchess County Legislature Jim Miccio said, “The J-FIRE Program has proven to be effective in educating youth on the dangers of fire setting through its comprehensive, multi-agency approach. With the addition of several law enforcement agencies and fire departments to the intermunicipal agreement, including the Town and Village of Fishkill Police Departments, J-FIRE will continue to expand its services throughout the County to address and prevent juvenile fire setting.”

Learn more about the J-FIRE Program online, email or call (845) 486-3994.