Utah Chapter

International Association of Arson Investigators

President's Message

Troy Mills

Troy Mills

I am very excited to serve as President of the Utah Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators. One concern that has troubled me for some time is the difficulty of moving an arson case through the legal system to obtain a conviction. In my experience many prosecuting attorneys are uncomfortable with trying an arson case. I believe that some of this discomfort comes from their lack of confidence in our ability to base our origin and cause determination of a fire on scientific principles. I feel strongly that we must enhance our credibility among prosecutors and the general public in that we are using scientifically based principles to determine fire origin and cause.

My primary goal this year is to improve the credibility and professionalism of fire investigations in Utah. I believe that each of us can become more credible by doing some very simple things.

  1. Become a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI). Being a member of this professional organization adds to your credibility and there are great benefits that come with being a member. You should be aware that IAAI has obtained a trademark for the designation “MIAAI” to be used exclusively by active members. If you are an active member you are allowed to use this designation after your name such as on your investigation reports adding more credibility to your report.
  2. Work toward certification. Don’t put off becoming certified. Many of our chapter members could easily qualify for certification at the Fire Investigation Technician level (IAAI-FIT). In addition to FIT and CFI the IAAI offers certification as an Evidence Collection Technician (IAAI-ECT) and a Certified Instructor (IAAI-CI). Certification is a fantastic way to validate your credibility.
  3. Obtain more training. If possible, attend the International Training Conference (ITC) each year. Some of the best training anywhere in the world related to fire investigations is offered at the annual ITC. Next year’s ITC will be in Orlando, Florida. I realize that not everyone can afford to attend this type of training but don’t forget that IAAI also offers some of the best on-line training available anywhere at CFITrainer.net and it’s FREE. Please utilize this great resource as often as possible. Each course that you complete can be added to your curriculum vitae.
  4. Develop your own Curriculum Vitae (CV). Every fire investigator has had to start this process of developing his/her CV with their experience and training. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t have much to include yet. Get started and you will be surprised how quickly it will grow. If you need help, ask a member of the Board. A professional looking CV will add volumes to your creditability.

If each of us will just do these few simple things we can make a tremendous difference along the road to improving our credibility as fire investigators in Utah. As we improve our credibility we will experience an increase in the confidence that a prosecuting attorney has in our investigation as we seek arson charges for a suspect.

An additional option to improve your credibility is our upcoming chapter training. Please mark your calendars for February 22-24, 2016 for our annual conference in Wendover, Nevada. As part of the conference we will be discussing the issue of Negative Corpus vs. the process of elimination in determining an ignition source. This topic received a great deal of interest at the International Training Conference (ITC) in Chicago this year and I have been able to schedule two of the ITC instructors to cover this topic for us. David E. Bridges and Chad J Stepan are both from Minneapolis Minnesota and have impressive bio’s. Better than that, they are great instructors and will provide us some great information. A better understanding of this topic may help us increase our credibility and our position as we discuss our arson cases with a prosecutor.

If you have any questions or comments please contact any member of the board. I look forward to working with each of you and hope to see you in Wendover.


IAAI Utah Chapter

P.O. Box 65927
Salt Lake City, UT 84165
Email: utahiaai@gmail.com


Troy Mills
Cell: 801-556-4154
Email: troymills@utah.gov


Sandy Mills
Cell: 435-896-3349
Email: sandymills581@msn.com