ARTICLE I. – PURPOSE
Section 1.1. To provide a pool of trained fire investigators and equipment to assist the fire and law enforcement agencies in Sonoma County with fire investigations that are beyond their capabilities.
Section 1.2. To coordinate with state, county and local fire agencies and the District Attorney’s Office in establishing a forum for the sharing of information between participating agencies.
Section 1.3. To provide investigative training for participating jurisdictions within Sonoma County.
ARTICLE II. - SPONSORSHIP
Section 2.1. The Sonoma County Fire Investigation Task Force (FITF) shall be sponsored by the participating agencies of the Sonoma County Fire Chief’s Association. Participating agencies shall be those departments who:
A. Pay the annual membership fee.
B. Have a minimum of one Investigator or Trainee assigned to the FITF as designated by the chief of their department.
Section 2.2. The membership fee shall be waived for law enforcement agencies, CalFire and the district attorney’s office to promote involvement in the task force.
ARTICLE III. – MEMBERSHIP
Section 3.1. Membership shall be confined to all regular and volunteer members of municipal, district, county, state and federal fire prevention and fire suppression agencies, law enforcement and the district attorneys office. Representatives of fire and law enforcement agencies shall only be granted membership upon recommendation of the sponsoring agency’s chief or department head.
Section 3.1A Retired members shall be able to continue their FITF membership as volunteer members of the same agency they were associated with or could be considered for membership with another Sonoma County agency (paid or volunteer) by providing the FITF Coordinator with a written recommendation from their sponsoring agency or department head. The FITF Coordinator shall review the Chief/Department Head recommendation, consult with the FITF Advisory Group, and then conduct a vote during a regular FITF meeting. The requesting party shall only be granted membership upon a majority vote of the membership.
Section 3.2. Each participating agency shall designate one or more of its personnel as members of the FITF. The designee shall meet the following requirements of either a Fire Investigator or a Fire Investigator Trainee.
A. FIRE INVESTIGATOR
1. Presently serving as a Fire Prevention Officer, Fire Investigator and/or Peace Officer.
2. Successful completion of Fire Investigation 1A, 1B & P.C. 832 or possession of a P.O.S.T. Basic Law Enforcement Certificate.
3. Appointed to the FITF by the agency’s fire chief.
B. FIRE INVESTIGATOR TRAINEE
1. Actively working toward the requirements for the position of Fire Investigator.
2. Appointed to the FITF by the agency’s fire chief.
3. All investigator trainees shall meet the requirements of Fire Investigator with in two years of application approval.
Section 3.3. Training Certification. At the time of the first annual FITF membership, to ensure each member assigned to the FITF has maintained adequate experience and training to maintain their skills as Fire Investigators and, in the case of Trainees, shown to be actively working towards the position of Investigator, the fire chief shall certify via e-mail that at least three hours of formal training in a topic specifically related to fire investigation or any of the topics outlined in chapter one of the current edition of NFPA 1033 during that calendar year.
Section 3.4. Revocation of membership. This organization is considered to be comprised of persons of high principles, good moral character, and dedicated to the objectives of the organization. It is the right of the organization to purify itself, and to this end, it is hereby established that any alleged trespass against its good name may be investigated, and if the facts indicate, the trespasser shall be tried in accordance with the procedure established in Robert’s Rules of Order. Any member of this organization who, after due investigation and hearing, shall have been found guilty of any dishonest, fraudulent, or criminal conduct, or who shall offend against the by-laws, any rule, regulation or resolution of this organization, may be expelled by a two thirds vote of the members present at any regular meeting.
Section 3.5. Dual Roles. In situations where a member is also employed in a capacity where he/she investigates fires as a private party, under no circumstances may he/she be allowed to investigate a fire as a private individual if he/she has participated in a call-out on the same fire.
ARTICLE IV. – OFFICERS
Section 4.1. The Task Force Membership shall, at the October meeting, vote for a member in good standing as Coordinator of the FITF. Prior to taking office, the vote shall be confirmed by the President of the Fire Prevention Officer’s Association. If the President of the FPO’s does not accept the recommendation of the Task Force, it shall be the responsibility of the Task Force to make an alternate recommendation until a Coordinator is selected.
Section 4.2. The Coordinator may serve consecutive terms at the pleasure of the membership.
Section 4.3. The Secretary/Treasurer of the Sonoma County Fire Prevention Officer’s Association shall also act as Secretary/Treasurer of the FITF.
ARTICLE V. – DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 5.1. Duties of the Coordinator. The Coordinator shall administer the FITF and preside at all meetings of the organization at which he/she is present. In the event the Coordinator is unable to attend meeting(s), he/she shall appoint a FITF member in good standing to preside over the meetings in his/her absence. The Coordinator shall annually present a list of Goals and Objectives for the approval of the membership at the February meeting. The Coordinator shall appoint a Chairperson(s) for all committees; keep records of whatsoever nature for the organization, keep a list of the names of the members, notify each member of an impending meeting and when and where the meeting is to be held. The Coordinator shall also be responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the membership files.
Section 5.2. Duties of the Secretary/Treasurer. It shall be the duty of the Secretary/Treasurer to keep a true and faithful account of all meetings, receive all dues, donations and other moneys of the organization, and it shall be his/her duty to sign all disbursements when authorized by the Coordinator.
ARTICLE VI. – COMMITTEES
Section 6.1. Committees shall be comprised of three (3) or more members. The Coordinator shall be advised of any committee meeting previously held. When deemed necessary by the Coordinator, a full report shall be given to the membership.
ARTICLE VII. – STANDING COMMITTEES
Section 7.1. Advisory Committee. The Coordinator shall serve as the Chair of the Task Force Advisory Committee. Other members of the Advisory Committee shall be as follows:
A. A representative of the Sonoma County Fire Chief’s Association.
B. The President of the Sonoma County Fire Prevention Officer’s Association.
C. Three Task Force members selected by the Coordinator that reflect the diversity of the membership. (Examples include the County of Sonoma, Fire Districts, City Fire Departments, State and Federal Agencies).
D. The Task Force Training Committee Chairperson.
Section 7.2. Duties. The Advisory Committee shall perform thee following duties:
A. Review and approve or disapprove the applications of prospective members.
B. To assist the Coordinator in reviewing the existing By-Laws and formulating additions or changes to the membership.
C. Assist the Coordinator in formulating new policies and programs.
Section 7.3. Training Committee. The Training Committee shall, at a minimum, provide training at a desired meeting or sponsored training as approved by the membership. A minimum of three training events shall be scheduled per calendar year.
ARTICLE VIII. – MEETINGS
Section 8.1. The FITF shall conduct four meetings/training sessions meetings each year to be held on the first Wednesday of January, April, July, and October. The Committee shall meet at the December FPO meeting for the purpose of end of the year report to the Fire Prevention Officers.
Section 8.1.2 The members have the authority to request a meeting at any time, that is not during the month of scheduled meetings. Members will make request in writing to the coordinator with explanation for need of non-scheduled meeting.
Section 8.2. Quorum. No business of this organization shall be conducted at any regular meeting unless there are ten (10) members present.
Section 8.3. The right to vote, submit motions, second motions, or offer solutions shall be confined to those persons holding membership.
ARTICLE IX. – CALL OUT PROCEDURES
Section 9.1. The following procedures shall be adhered to when conducting a call out of FITF members. A record of each call out request shall be provided to the FITF Coordinator.
A. MEMBER DEPARTMENTS
1. The agency requesting the call-out shall provide an Investigator of Record.
2. The requesting member agency may use the membership list to notify and request investigators to respond to their incident until a desired number of investigators is achieved; or, use REDCOM for an alpha numeric page to the membership list. Per REDCOM’s SOP, provide them with contact name, phone number, address of incident, type of fire and resources required. When resources requested have been achieved, ask REDCOM for a second page out to notify membership.
3. The request for page (text) to FITF can be requested at any time; however, the working (time) hours should be 08:00 to 18:00 hours. Unless extenuating circumstances exist like fire death or major loss fire.
4. The agency making the call out request shall make every effort to contact members of the FITF in their geographic area, and working away from the incident.
5. In keeping with the intent of the organization, the agency making the request shall consider Trainees whenever possible.
6. The requesting agency shall make notification to the FITF coordinator including a list of responding members. The requesting agency will be required to provide details of the investigation at the next posted meeting date.
7. It is the responsibility of the member participating in the call out to get approval from their agency. FITF will not be responsible for reimbursement of time provided by that member.
B. NON-MEMBER DEPARTMENTS
1. Volunteer Fire Companies
a. The Fire Chief or Incident Commander shall notify the Sonoma County
Department of Emergency Services Duty Chief (DC-29).
b. The Duty Chief after consultation with the Fire Chief or Incident Commander may, call out the FITF utilizing the procedure in A above. The Duty Chief or their designee shall serve as the Investigator of Record.
2. Fire Districts
a. The Fire Chief or Incident Commander may request the Sonoma County
Department of Emergency Services Duty Chief using REDCOM.
b. The Duty Chief after consulting with the Fire Chief of Incident Commander may call out the FITF utilizing the procedure A above. The requesting agency shall provide an Investigator of Record or utilize the Duty Officer or their designate shall serve as the Investigator of Record.
3. Non member agencies may be invoiced for costs incurred by the Department of Emergency Services or other agencies that assist in the investigation.
ARTICLE X. – FUNDS
Section 10.1. Soliciting of Funds. No member of the Organization shall solicit funds for the organization except those funds accepted from donors for the purpose of conducting tests, research projects, or other work within the meaning and intent of the objectives of the Organization. It is expressly implied that no benefit shall be derived by donors, and no obligation is incurred by the Organization in accepting funds for any purpose what so ever.
Section 10.2. Funds shall be derived from dues, donations, and other planned activities approved by the membership.
Section 10.3. Dues shall be payable to the Secretary/Treasurer of the Sonoma County Fire Prevention Officer’s Association no later than the April meeting of each year. Dues not paid by April shall be delinquent and the member shall be no longer entitled to the privileges of the Organization.
ARTICLE XI. – RULES OF ORDER
Section 11.1. The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the conduct of this Organization except, when they may be inconsistent with these by-laws.
ARTICLE XII. – AMENDMENTS
Section 12.1. These by-laws may be amended upon recommendation of the Advisory Committee with the approval of the majority of the membership present at any regular meeting, or by presentation of a resolution by any member, stating in detail the proposed amendment and adoption of the resolution by a majority of the membership present at any regular meeting. No amendment shall be adopted at the time of presentation, but shall be held over until the next regular meeting, at which time it shall be voted on.
Section 12.2. Retention Period for all FITF documents. The organization shall follow the retention guidelines as approved by the Sonoma County Fire Prevention Officers
I attest that this document was adopted and approved by the general
membership at a meeting of the general membership by an affirmative vote in
accordance with Section 12.1 of the existing by-laws on January 3, 2018
Name of Official
Ruben R. Mandujano - FITF Coordinator