Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Cinders and Detective John Granato certified as an accelerant detection team

Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Cinders and K-9 Section Detective John Granato have completed 3 months of training as a team to obtain their accelerant detection certification.

The aptly-named Cinders, an 8-year-old female Belgian Malinois, has been with the K-9 Section since 2013 but was reassigned in 2018 to Detective Granato, who also handles patrol and narcotics detection duties with K-9 Spike.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective John Granato with K-9 Cinders, a Belgian Malinois.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective John Granato and K-9 Cinders are certified as an accelerant detection team to assist on arson investigations.

The pairing of Detective Granato and K-9 Cinders required retraining and certification in accelerant detection, which was accomplished at the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Academy under the instruction of Supervising K-9 Trainer Detective Sergeant Aaron Tomasini and K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon.

“Our newly retrained K-9 Cinders is an essential deployable resource that is a valuable part of the tool box of the Morris County Public Safety Community. I am so very proud of Detective Granato, Cinders and the entire K-9 Section, “ said Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon.

“The keen olfactory senses of this animal partner allows us to detect the presence of accelerant substances that would not otherwise be discovered, “ Sheriff Gannon said.

Cinders is a single-purpose K-9 and the only dog in the K-9 Section certified in detecting accelerants.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Cinders with handler Detective John Granato.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Cinders tugs on a ball that is her reward for detecting accelerants. With Cinders is her handler, Detective John Granato.

Detective Granato said his first week with K-9 Cinders was spent familiarizing themselves with each other to develop the necessary bond between dog and handler. The 42-pound Cinders previously was certified in accelerant detection with her former handler so her retraining in detecting 9 accelerants progressed quickly, Granato said.

K-9 Cinders responds to fire scenes throughout Morris County when arson is suspected. As part of her training, she detected accelerants buried several feet in the ground and encased in PVC piping, steel and concrete.

K-9 Cinders is called an “aggressive indicator,” meaning she digs and scratches to reach the accelerant her nose – with 220 million olfactory receptors – led her to. She can detect even the tiniest drop of accelerant, down to half a microliter in size, Detective Granato said.

Her reward for her detective work? A rubber ball on a string.

“She works for the reward and hers is the ball,” Detective Granato said.