Law Enforcement Training

Law enforcement serves and protects citizens and maintains the peace and order in a given area. Within law enforcement, there are many other sub-branches. Substantial training is required in order to become an effective law enforcement official. Each branch of law enforcement requires even more specific training.

Being an effective police officer requires not only physical and psychological wellness, but more importantly, discipline. Training in the police force can become quite harsh. The training includes shooting practice, simulations of real-life situations that require law enforcement intervention, and crime scene investigation education.

Whether you end up as a detective or a uniformed police officer, it is important that you know how to search for evidence or scenarios that are unusual or out of place. Being able to notice the right small detail could potentially solve the case you are handling. Training also teaches would-be policemen and policewomen these tactics.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) division, you should expect to undergo even more demanding training. You will not only need more physical training, but you will need to be familiarized with the weapons and strategies involved in a scenario that requires your services.

SWAT police usually have to work under intense pressure. As a result, they are trained both physically and psychologically to respond quickly and intelligently to life-threatening scenarios. SWAT also makes its officers undergo intense teamwork training. SWAT officers need to be able to work as one unit for their plans of attack to be effective.

8 Different Ways Different States Treat Divorce

You’re thinking about divorce – maybe you need to give some thought to where you live. Divorce laws differ widely from state to state. Here are 8 examples that will show you just how different divorce laws can be.

  1. Want To Get Out Of Paying Alimony? Well, if your spouse has been unfaithful, you want to be living in Georgia. Georgia law allows adultery as a bar to paying alimony. Make your case and alimony will not be awarded.
  2. Want To Get Even? Let’s get back to that unfaithful scenario. In 7 states you can still sue a homewrecker for “alienation of affection” if another person has stolen your spouse from you. New Mexico, Illinois, Hawaii, North Carolina, Mississippi, Utah and South Dakota are where you want to be if you want to sue. In some of those states, the name is “criminal conversation”.
  3. Want A Fast Divorce? You may think that Nevada is the state for a quickie divorce. Think again. In New Hampshire you can be divorced in a single day. You both just cross the border and stay in New Hampshire – that’s taking up residence. There’s no minimum processing time or minimum residency requirement. You can “move” to New Hampshire on Wednesday and file on Thursday and be divorced.
  4. Not So Fast? Then try Vermont. In Vermont, you have to have been residents for at least a year. You must undergo a six-month separation, living apart during that time. Meet those requirements and the judge will grant the divorce. But, wait! It’s not final for another three-months!
  5. Find Fault In Idaho. If your spouse is a boozer and you’ve had enough. You can file for a fault divorce on the grounds of habitual intemperance.
  6. Murder She Wrote – Or He Wrote. If you want grounds for a fault divorce in Tennessee, you just have to show that your spouse has tried to murder you “by poison or any other means showing malice.” Yikes!
  7. She Has A Headache Or He’s Not In The Mood. And, that can be ground for a fault divorce in North Dakota where “persistent refusal to have reasonable matrimonial intercourse” lets you file for a fault divorce.
  8. Still Seeing Each Other? In Delaware, a divorcing couple can continue to live together, but they must be in separate bedrooms. However, sex is allowed if it I an effort “to achieve reconciliation”.

You can see how different divorce laws can be – and that’s one reason why you want an experienced divorce lawyer on your side. You want an expert divorce attorney who understand the laws in your state and can help you make the right decisions within those boundaries.

Prenuptial Agreements – The Before Marriage Divorce Contract

A prenuptial agreement, also called a “pre-nup”, or “premarital agreement”, is an agreement made by couples planning to get married. The pre-nup governs how issues such as dividing marital assets, and alimony will be dealt with if the marriage should end in a divorce.

Without a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, a divorced couple’s property will be divided and any maintenance awarded in accordance with Nevada statutes and case law. Any couple looking to save themselves from the circus called, divorce court, should seriously consider a pre-nup. Such an agreement is especially important if one or both parties are on their second or subsequent marriage, if they have children from a previous marriage, or have significant personal assets which they do not want to be subject to the whims of a family court judge.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Divorce Court?

Yes, unless there are defects in their negotiation or content. Originally, most states would not enforce prenuptial agreements because they felt such agreements were “in derogation of marriage”, meaning the agreements work against the principle of married for life. However, in the early seventies, following other states, Nevada held prenuptial agreements to be generally enforceable in, Buettner v. Buettner, 1973. So your agreement will be enforceable if it is properly done.

Why Draft a Prenup?

The most important reason to draft a pre-nup is to save you time and money, if your marriage ends in divorce. By agreeing to terms now, when you love each other, the divorce tends to run simpler, when the bliss has worn off. With a prenuptial agreement you know how things are going to be divided. Giving you peace of mind and costing you drastically less money in divorce attorney fees.

Pre-nups are not romantic. Approaching the conversation is a buzz kill. Most couples find it difficult to discuss the ending of a marriage. You’re in love, and going to be married forever. Why would you need a divorce agreement? Because like life, divorce happens. You have less of a chance of finding your home on fire, and yet you buy home insurance. Signing a pre-nup is not dooming your marriage. Many couples feel siging a pre-nup solidifies each other’s marriage commitments.

What’s in a Prenuptial Agreement?

In 1989, Nevada adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act (UPAA), which can be found in the Nevada Revised Statutes at Title 123A. Under the UPAA, parties to a prenuptial agreement are allowed to agree with regard to:

1. Rights of property which the parties already have or might acquire during the marriage;
2. Any rights to buy, sell, lease or mortgage such property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, divorce, or death of one of the parties;
4. Alimony; and
5. Any other rights and obligations of the parties which are allowed to be governed by private contract, i.e. are not governed by statute.

Separate property is the main focus of most prenuptial agreements. If you are coming into a marriage with real estate, retirement accounts, or cash, you might want to keep these assets separate from your community property. Community property is divided equally if a divorce happens. Separate property is not divided. A pre-nup often includes a waiver by both parties of any rights in property the other spouse acquired before the marriage. This is important if you who wish to preserve the assets they bring into a marriage.

Couples can also agree that property acquired by one partner after the marriage, which would ordinarily become community property, will remain the separate property of that spouse. For example, you might be halfway to earning a huge bonus, stock options, or maybe a future book deal. By agreeing these assets are to remain separate property you limit this argument in court.

A pre-nup may include language about limiting alimony (aka spousal support) in the case of a divorce. We are even seeing an increase in “fidelity clauses” being linked to spousal support. If a spouse has an affair the spousal support can be limited or increased, depending on your wishes. However, if the elimination or modification of alimony for a spouse results in that spouse needing public assistance, a court may disregard this portion of the agreement.

Two subjects of major concern to many couples contemplating marriage cannot be governed by prenuptial agreements: child custody and child support. By Nevada law, a court must decide these matters based on the standard of the best interests of the child and specific factors at the time of the decision. A premarital agreement signed before children are born would be unable to discuss the future factors. So, any private agreement between the parties on these subjects will not be binding.

When are Pre-Nups Not Enforced?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between spouses. Like all contracts, in order to be binding, an agreement must be entered into by both parties knowingly and without any coercion, duress or fraud. Because of the closeness of the relationship between engaged persons, courts scrutinize prenuptial agreements especially closely.

First, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily. This means the agreement is not valid if one of the parties executed it under “duress,” a legal term meaning “pressure.” Agreements are often executed under some type of pressure; therefore, not every type of pressure will constitute duress.

While threats of physical violence or blackmail would clearly constitute duress, time between signing the agreement and the wedding date is the biggest culprit. Courts will void a pre-nup because the bride felt pressure to sign a pre-nup three days before the wedding. The typical cause being the emotional stress of having to cancel the wedding, and explain to hundreds of guests why the wedding was canceled. It’s not a gun to the head, but just as scary for some.

The threat of calling off the wedding is not always enough to be duress. Most courts reason that a party has a legal right to call off a wedding at any time. The courts look for other factors such as the unavailability of legal counsel for one spouse, or a one-sided agreement. For more examples of what constitutes duress, see “Voluntary Consent in Prenuptial Agreements”.

It is advisable for couples to allow plenty of time to negotiate and draft an agreement. To avoid the issue of duress being raised in the event of a divorce, couples should again allow several weeks, and even a month or so before the wedding date, for the process of negotiating and executing the agreement. Each side should also consult their own attorney.

Second, the agreement must be entered into “knowingly.” The UPAA requires that both parties be provided a “fair and reasonable disclosure” of the property and financial obligations of the other party. This means that income, real property, bank accounts, investments and all debts must be disclosed. This requirement underscores the advisability of allowing adequate time for consideration of the agreement.

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that where the husband failed to make the disclosures necessary to permit the wife to make an informed decision with respect to the premarital agreement, the agreement is invalid, Fick v. Fick, 1993. The court held that an incomplete list of the husband’s assets, given to the wife shortly before the wedding, and on the basis of which the wife signed the prenuptial agreement, did not constitute full disclosure.

Third, the agreement must be entered into without the presence of fraud. Fraud occurs when a party deliberately or negligently misleads the other party. Obviously, deliberately misstating or concealing one’s financial information would constitute fraud. However, as stated above prenuptial agreements are held to a higher degree of scrutiny than regular commercial contracts; courts require a high degree of honesty on the part of each party, called a fiduciary duty to the other party. Therefore, if the resulting agreement is excessively one-sided, courts will presume the existence of fraud, and, unless this presumption is rebutted in court, will invalidate the agreement.

In Sogg v. Nevada State Bank, the Nevada Supreme Court concluded that a premarital agreement would be presumed fraudulent where it left a wife with no resources or means of support in the event of a divorce, and where the wife probably would have received more under the community property laws of Nevada were it not for the premarital agreement.

The presumption may be overcome by a showing that the party claiming disadvantage was not in fact disadvantaged. Factors to consider include whether the disadvantaged party (1) had ample opportunity to obtain the advice of an independent attorney, (2) was not coerced into making a rash decision by circumstances, (3) had substantial business experience and acumen, and (4) was aware of the financial resources of the other party and understood the rights that were being forfeited.

The court in Sogg, held that where the premarital agreement was drafted by the husband’s attorney, the wife was never given an opportunity to obtain the assistance of her own counsel, was not given a copy of the agreement until the morning of the wedding, and the wife’s business experience was scanty. The court held that the presumption of fraud was not overcome, and the agreement was invalid.
Fair Pre-Nups

A contract is “unconscionable” if it is so one-sided as to be fundamentally unfair. In some states, a prenuptial agreement will be upheld even if it is one-sided and is a bad bargain for one of the parties, as long as it is made voluntarily and with full disclosure by each party. However, the Nevada Supreme Court doesn’t lean this way. In the Fick case, the court took into account the results of the agreement. It invalidated the agreement partly because the agreement eliminated alimony for the wife, which she would have been entitled to, and gave the wife much less community property than she would have received under community property laws. This indicates that Nevada courts will look at the substantive outcome of an agreement in determining fairness and validity.

It is apparent the reasons prenuptial agreements will be rendered unenforceable tend to overlap. In practice, facts which indicate there was not adequate disclosure by a party or which indicate the presence of duress may also be used to find fraud, unconscionably, etc. The overall lesson for couples is therefore: allow sufficient time for negotiation; have separate divorce lawyers available for both parties, disclose all assets, financial information and anything else the other party might reasonably want to know, and to attempt to treat the other spouse as fairly possible.

Divorce and Temporary Protection Order (TPO's)

A court has the power to issue a TPO (temporary protection order) to protect individuals from being harassed and stalked. In a divorce proceeding, the court may also grant a TPO to a spouse, husband or wife, if the spouse has been subject to instances of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is not simply defined by physical violence towards a spouse or child. It takes many different forms. In Nevada, the law provides that a court may issue a TPO on a current or former spouse if it finds evidence of:

Sexual violence
Child abuse
Harassment
Physical violence
Threats of physical violence
Coercion

There are several TPO’s that a court may issue. First, you can apply for an emergency protection order. This application must be made while your spouse is still in police custody after being arrested for a domestic violence incident and is effective for 7 days. A temporary protection order may also be requested regardless of whether there is an arrest and is effective for 30 days. Finally, you can apply for an extended protection order, which can last for up to one year. If you apply for an extended order, a hearing will be scheduled. Your spouse must be notified and has the right to attend the hearing. It is also absolutely necessary that you attend the hearing or the TPO will be dismissed.

A judge can rule on a number of issues when granting a TPO. Your spouse can be ordered to stay away from your home, place of work, or your child’s school or daycare, or any other relevant place. Your spouse can also be ordered not to contact you in the form of phone calls, through a third party such as friends or family, and email. Your spouse can be prevented from destroying your property, assaulting you or your children, and harassing you in any way. The judge may also order your spouse to leave the marital home, assign control of bank accounts and other items that you share, as well as temporary child custody.

Every situation is different and if you are unsure of whether you are entitled to a TPO you can contact the Family Violence Intervention Program located in the Clark County Family Court. Applications are free and advocates are there to assist you. They cannot provide legal advice, but they can help you with the application process.

A temporary protection order is designed to protect individuals from domestic violence before, during, and after a divorce and these matters are taken very seriously. The court will not tolerate false or exaggerated accusations of domestic violence in order to gain some sort of advantage in a divorce or custody battle. If you are in need of a TPO, or you have had a TPO wrongfully issued against you, it may be in your best interest to consult a Las Vegas divorce attorney experienced in these legal matters to protect you rights.

The Value of Law in Our Lives and Society

It is known by all that law is an essential part of a society. It helps to make a society trouble free and peaceful. Law is made by humans in order to change the society with the introduction of equality, justice, and fairness.

Man has made laws, so being a maker we must follow laws too. Government and courts have set these laws and they are applicable for every citizen of a country. Victims are protected by law, whereas criminals are punished by it. You must obey law to avoid its consequences.

Law is very important for a society, for not only maintaining peace but also to control systematic lives of the people. Law protects a society from anarchy, chaos and disorder. Criminal actions like trespassing, rape, steal, damage, bully, murder and terrorism are controlled by the Law. This saves the society from every criminal act.

Disasters can be caused if people live in a society and start doing things according to their wills and principles. The Law helps to prevent people from doing actions what they want. A mentality of taking revenge will be created among the masses which may turn into unlawful acts. A society will be full of illegal actions, crimes and murders, if there is no law. Rules help a society to consider even a small problem to avoid its bigger consequences in the future.

A simple waste disposal may kill many people, if not prevented now. Cleanliness will not be maintained by people, if there is no such rule. People will find their own ways of living and survival, if they are not bound by laws. A war zone can be created in the world. Laws not only maintain peace in the society but also help to run the human race without any disturbance and in proper order.

A good relationship with each other in a society is regulated by a system of laws. Conflicts are also settled down by the means of law. The respect for human rights is ensured by this procedure of rules and laws. A society can function efficiently and properly only because of the presence of laws. Crimes are being stopped to become an everyday happening with the help of laws, so that children do not grow up finding the crimes to be normal. Future generations of the human race are safe and protected because of strict orders and laws.

So, laws are not only important in the society, but also in human lives.

The Basic Details About Law Enforcement Careers

The law enforcement is a wide field of career options, the Bureau of Statistics of the United States estimates that the field will keep on growing steadily until the year of 2018, and it will increase by 10% for law enforcement professionals. The usual career that requires 4-year degree course in the law enforcement is the Police Department as well as the Security Enforcement Agencies.

Investigators and detectives – they are acting for the review evidences, interview the witnesses and follow the leads for solving the crimes committed within their jurisdiction. In spite of the glamorous reputation, being a detective is not that easy. Hours of work are long, the nature of job is dangerous and the salary is usually low. Detective ranking is achieved through climbing the steps like the police forces.

Parole officers – they are the type of law enforcers who are working with the parolees report as they are being conditionally released from the prison. They have the backgrounds in administration or law enforcement and they should be knowledgeable with the basic-moderate of their computer skills. They have to be ready to testify against or favor to their parolees in the court proceeding if needed.

FBI and CIA – they are 2 of the best enforcement arms of the United States Government. Career seekers that obtain the security clearance can find stable employment within the government, and they can be at the secret service or even military police.

Prosecutor and Defense Attorneys – they can enter the field after they have completed the 3-year graduate level of the law schooling programs. As the degree of law enforcement is not being required for the law schools admission, they can still provide a competitive edge that are needed for earning an acceptance to any law school.

These potential experts must pass the background investigation that includes inquiries to their working history, financial history and criminal history. For those individuals who want to pursue their law enforcement degree must be prepared for the participation of several interviews with their choice of agency. They need to practice for answering the interview questions that are difficult.

This is a rewarding field that has many advantages for the ones who are choosing it as their career. Landscape of this career is augmenting everyday as the advancement of good opportunities are many.

Spotting Reliable Divorce Help Online

The Internet has definitely taken the world by storm. It has opened up new ways for communicating with others all over the globe and has given everyone the convenience of having information ready at their fingertips. One downside to this though is that with the influx of the information also comes the rise of unreliable information. Divorce is one of the topics most frequently looked up on the net and to those who are in need of some reliable divorce help online, here are some good tips to remember:

When it comes to getting information and divorce help, nothing beats the quickness of the Internet. Quick as it may be, it certainly also has its flaws. For one, with the numerous sites online which have articles that talk about a range of topics on divorce, it is unsure that all the divorce information are truly 100% based on facts.

Many of these websites have articles which can be read free of charge which makes them all the more popular for those who are thinking of getting a divorce but are on a budget. Thus being able to tell which is fact and which is fallacy is definitely a much needed skill.

You should always have a critical mind so that you can tell which the facts are. It is never a wrong thing to ask around or look into details more closely rather than following and believing readily what is written. Compare and contrast articles and see which sounds more believable to you and contains the most facts rather than ideas based on opinions. And whenever you read something, watch something or listen to something, keep an open mind but never forget to use common sense. Sometimes when we are too emotionally charged we forget to use our logic. For example, you search for “ways to brutally get back on your cheating husband” instead of just looking for softer and more practical self-help stuff. That’s when you create a whole new problem in the middle of this sticky situation.

It will also be a good move to look into the main contributors of the site. Look up on their credentials and see if they have enough legal knowledge and experience to be deemed experts in the field. Look for sites which have a reputable divorce attorney as one of their main contributors, if not all.

Always remember that different states also vary in the laws that govern divorce, so if looking for divorce help online, search for ones that specialize on divorce laws within your state or area. You wouldn’t want to be taking tips from a site which have facts based on Nevada laws when you live in California.

Spotting reliable divorce help online is just all about reading and using your critical thinking skills. Most of the time, wrong information can easily be detected if we learn to read and look into details more closely.

What Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplains Have In Common With Law Enforcement Officers

Learning to understand the Law Enforcement culture and the unique pressures that officers experience day-to-day is an important part of being an Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplain. At first it may seem that the culture of Law Enforcement and that of Faith Communities have very little in common. However, members of the clergy may have more in common with Law Enforcement Officers than what is immediately obvious. These similarities provide the foundation upon which to build a relationship of understanding and trust.

“On” All The Time

Members of the clergy understand something of what it means to be on duty all the time. They could be out shopping in the produce section of a supermarket and find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a conversation with someone from their community about an important life issue. Members of the clergy can’t disengage with “I’m not on duty right now,” for doing so would likely go against their nature and possibly cause irreparable damage to their relationships in the community. Law enforcement officers have a similar “on” all the time experience of life and can’t easily step out of the problem solving role that members of the public may project on them. Family, friends and neighbors may also have difficulties in seeing an officer outside of his or her role. Being “on” all the time is a source of stress because it does not allow for the individual, outside of a professional role, to be experienced. When a chaplain understands this, it can help the chaplain be present for an officer without contributing to the demands already being placed on the officer. Being “On” all the time as a Law Enforcement Officer has an additional stress, that of sustained alertness for potential danger. Not being aware of this can cause a Chaplain to misinterpret the normal hyper alert behavior of an officer as being distant or unapproachable.

Tips

  • Don’t assume too casual or overly friendly demeanor when communicating with Law Enforcement Officers. Let officers set the tone and thereby let you know what is appropriate for your interactions.
  • Do be courteous, kind and professional.

Set Apart

Some clergy wear vestments that set them apart from the public and even those who do not wear any particular identifying clothing or symbol of their office can experience being set apart from society. This can be in the form of expectations that the public have of clergy: to have faultless personal lives and spotless behavior all the time, and to never deviate from an inhumane standard of perfection. Similarly, Law Enforcement Officers are seemingly under sustained scrutiny. Their badges, uniforms and weapons, make them stand out from a crowd that expects perfect politeness and faultless behavior. Sometimes the individual behind the uniform is lost in all the expectation. The pressure to show up perfectly can have the effect of dehumanizing a person and cause an ever-deepening rift between their on duty personality and who they really are. When a chaplain understands this about an officer, it can help the chaplain to be present for the person behind the uniform with patience, letting the officer lead with instructions, conversation and requests-and above all to have a strong capacity to listen to the officer with as little judgment as possible.

Tips

  • Avoid expressing personal opinions about matters of social conduct.
  • Do listen, frequently and carefully

Professional, Not Personal

Regardless of an officer’s opinion about local laws, private faith, political parties, or personal preferences regarding social trends, he or she has to apply the law with sustained professionalism toward everyone. Officers interact with people from every walk of life and way of thinking and believing and have to be able to function with fairness and equanimity in this diverse environment. An Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplain will no doubt have strong personal faith conviction and a deep spiritual practice. Regardless of the chaplain’s private faith, he or she will be serving officers and members of the public from every-and no-faith tradition; at no time is it appropriate to proselytize. An Interfaith Law Enforcement Chaplain has to apply compassion and service with sustained professionalism toward everyone.

Tips

  • Don’t bring anything to the conversation that was not requested. Testimonies of faith, no matter what the tradition, must not be brought into the conversation with officers unless specifically requested.
  • Do be respectful of what officers want to talk about and follow their lead. Include in this the ability to respect an officer’s wish to talk about anything.

How To Become A Real Crime Scene Technician

The popularity of those true-crime and crime scene technician programs on television have not only attracted a large audience of loyal fans, but have also inspired thousands of students to enter criminal law, forensic sciences, and law enforcement schools, all in hopes of joining the ranks of forensic lab and field technicians across the country. Because the field is so varied, the training can literally come from a host of different sources, and will continue on past gaining the necessary degrees or certifications, so that they can readily keep up with the ever-changing technology.

The skills you will learn in school to become a crime scene investigator are so needed these days that any certification or degree will easily lead to a career that is much in demand. Law enforcement, legal practices and even the federal government have openings for dedicated forensics professionals from all walks of life, and education.

Where to Begin Your Crime Scene Technician Training

There are so many different ways to begin your training in forensic science. Enrolling in any technical school that offers classes in criminal justice is one way to begin. Attending an accredited college or university program is another. And, these days, you can even begin your job training online, at your own pace, allowing you to take care of your beginning classes, and formal training over whatever period of time you require.

Beginning with criminal justice training is the smartest way, as you will be learning everything that you will need to be part of law enforcement, the largest employers of technician anywhere. This type of background is essential to your formal training to work in the field gathering evidence, securing crime scenes and interviewing potential witnesses as part of your daily job description.

Career Education Requirements

Before you can get into the science of forensic technology itself, you should have a good knowledge of the physical sciences, chemistry, biology, math and anatomy physiology. Along with this course of study, outside of the technology itself, the best school to enter after the general courses are behind you, is the school of criminal justice.

Because most crime scene investigator and technician positions are actually filled within law enforcement, it is essential that any student planning on having this kind of specialized career study the first couple of years as if they were becoming a police officer in the field. In some jurisdictions, the CSI functions as operating police officers in emergency situations, so all of this training will come in handy, even if the television shows may tell you otherwise.

Criminal Justice Training

You can either attend an actual criminal justice school, or complete the necessary criminal justice courses online while you complete the technical and science requirements at a university. However you wish to do so the bulk of your criminal justice training should include as many of the following courses as you can complete for the full spectrum of training available:

Criminal Law
Crime Scene Evidence
Criminal Investigation
Crime Scene Photography
Evidence Collection
Evidence Analysis and Interpretation

The next set of courses only requires that you show a proficiency in, so that you can work with law enforcement agencies, while pursuing your main career:

Shooting
Defensive Tactics
First Aid
Fingerprinting, including applications, techniques and interpretation
Bloodstain Analysis
Forensic Photography
Footwear Identification Proficiency

Employment Outlook and Opportunities

There are a large number of crimes that occur unfortunately on a regular basis that will require the specialized expertise of a crime scene technician. Assaults, burglaries, rapes, kidnappings, suicides, vehicular crimes, and murder will all allow you to utilize every skill you have learned so that you can be an important part of the investigation team.

Job opportunities for professional technicians can be found in law enforcement, fire departments, pathology labs, hospitals, medical examiners offices, and even insurance and detective agencies. This means that the current outlook is very good, and the number of openings is expected to grow over the next few years, as the field expands.

The Rule of Law

One of the most fundamental requirements of a civil society is the rule of law which means that the people must follow the law of the land irrespective of his or her status or position in the society. In the modern world, the developed countries feel proud that their society is governed by the rule of law while most developing countries like India feel ashamed that their society does not have the rule of law. The developed countries are the role model for the underdeveloped countries, where the rule of law is still a distant dream.

Societies that follow rule of law are often considered more civilized as there is much more order in the society. Every thing in such societies appears to be in order. The roads are clean, lawns and parks are well-maintained, government officials work in office, trains and public transports run on time. Further, there is virtually no corruption in public offices. People are well paid, deliver better efficiencies and keep everything neat and clean. These societies appear perfect to the people of other parts of the world, who often wonder why they can’t be like them.

All societies need laws for their existence. Even though the laws may be different in each society, yet there are some basic principles that are common to all laws of the world. These fundamental principles are equality, fraternity, justice and liberty. The Indian constitution, for example, incorporates these goals in the preamble to the constitution which seeks to secure for all its citizens justice, liberty, equality and to promote among them the spirit of fraternity.

These principles are so universal in nature that they find place in every civilized society of the world. It is matter of great surprise that in reality the outcome of the rule of law is just the opposite. The more civilized a society is, the more is the inequality among its population – more injustice to the have-nots, less liberty due to strict enforcement of law and more hatred among the citizens based on race, caste and religion. What goes wrong in the implementation in the so-called rule of law?

Law of Nature

Indian thinkers in the Vedic period, i.e. around 3000 years before the birth of Christ, discovered that the universe does not perform its functions at random but follows certain laws. These were called “Rita” or the universal laws or principles that guided the universe. The progress of man can be largely attributed in understanding these basic principles of nature and exploiting them for the benefit of the human race at the cost of the rest of the creations. The laws of man, therefore, run contrary to the laws of nature as they are human-centric and not designed for all the creations of God or Nature.

One of the basic differences between man-made-laws and the laws of Nature is that the laws of nature are spontaneous as they require no effort in implementation. For example, in a natural piece of earth like a forest, the earth produces trees, plants, fruits and vegetables spontaneously without any need of watering or breeding. The nature itself provides timely rain and fertilizer to the new plants. The forests and the mountains are covered with greenery and beauty, which is purely natural since it comes without any effort.

On the contrary, the man-made creations like parks, trees, plants are artificially made. They too may look as beautiful as the natural ones, yet they cannot survive without regular effort on the part of man. Imagine a park, which is not maintained for a few months, or a house not cleaned for months. It will lose all its beauty and soon be filled with dust and weeds. No building or modern gadget can survive without external effort from man. However, all natural creations are able to survive on their own and maintain their existence; and enjoy their life without any external support.

The laws of nature are just as they treat every specie (and not only man) with equality. In a jungle, every specie gets its due share of food, air and water which enable them to live a dignified life without being dependent on any other creation. Nature makes no distinction between one specie, and the other as all species are the children of the same God.

However, in the man’s world, every other creature is killed if it is not useful for man. They can survive only if they can be useful for man. Thus man’s world does not treat any other creature of the nature with respect and does not provide them any right of equality, liberty, justice or fraternity. He cleverly usurps this universal law and makes it applicable only for human beings. For all other lesser species, he has created a man-made-law, calling it ‘the law of jungle’ or ‘the survival of the fittest’ which justifies his domination over the weak creations. The fact, on the contrary, is that the laws of jungle are far more just and equal for all species than the man-made-law.

Most men are not concerned about the way they treat the lesser animals as they feel that ‘the survival of the fittest’ theory is more logical than the laws of nature. However, they forget that every principle created in the universe has to be applied on them also and that they may not always be a beneficiary. Man-made-laws do not stop with animals but they soon spread their wings to encompass human beings, too. This is where conflicts between man and man starts that gives rise to hatred and wars. Man feels the pinch when the law of jungle is applied against them and the law of nature is denied to him. He is hurt when he is treated like weeds by the society.

Weeds: The Undesirable Plants of Nature?

One of the most interesting creations of the natural world is weed. Weeds are undesirable vegetation in the kingdom of plants. Weeds are defined as any plant that is not valued by the human society and usually tends to overgrow or compete with valued flora. Weeds are the plants which are considered by human beings as unattractive, undesirable, or troublesome.

In the natural world, man has to continuously fight against weeds to make their artificial plants survive. Weeds grow automatically and if the artificial gardens do not have the support of man, it is soon overpowered by weeds and the whole field or garden becomes full of weeds. Weeds are created by Nature (God) as no human effort is required to grow them. They are, however, so powerful that man has to continuously guard his creation from these weeds, lest all creation of the civilized society is destroyed. Weeds are as undesirable to man in the world of plants as criminals in the human society.

Criminals: The Necessary Evil for the Civil Society

Similar to weeds in the natural world, there is a growth of criminals in civilized societies. Who these criminals are? Why do they grow? Whether the criminals are healthy people or are they mentally ill as often thought by the civilized world?

Criminals are defined as the people who commit crime. Crime is defined as an act that is a violation of the criminal law that is punishable by law. Crime is usually considered an evil act and criminals are often seen as evil created by Devil, out there to destroy the civilized citizens, the children of God.

There are many similarities between criminals and weeds. Criminals grow automatically in every society and the society has to work hard to weed out these criminals. Criminals like weeds are so powerful and competitive that they have the power to defeat the civilized people. They are, therefore, fought jointly by the society. Yet in every society, there is crime and there are criminals. We are used to look criminals as evil that is unnecessary just like weeds. Yet if God (Nature) is the creator of all, then everything in this world must have been created with a purpose. “What could be the purpose of creation of criminals?” We wonder.

Criminals are, as a matter of fact, creation of the civilized world. In an uncivilized world, there would be no law, so there can be no violation of law and hence, no criminal. If we wish to understand the utility of criminals in the civilized world, we must imagine the world of nature without weeds. In such a world, all plants will have to be grown by man with artificial watering – canals, tube-wells, and other irrigation systems used for agriculture. In all certainty, man will grow only such crops and plants that are useful to man and the rest of the species would surely not survive in the man’s world. Further, man’s energy is limited and with all his effort, he can hardly take care of a minuscule part of the world by artificial plantation, so the rest of the physical world would be without plants and so without oxygen and other animal life and Eco-system. This will soon lead to the end of the world including the human being.

The role of criminals is similar to the role of the weeds. Imagine a world without crime i.e. everyone follows the law of the land without questioning. It will only provide status quo in the world. Kings will always be kings and only their children or loved ones can become kings. Poor will always be poor. Kings will frame more inhuman laws that would give them more powers. The less fortunate people would die out of hunger and poverty as they won’t break the law and the state will have no obligation to feed them. Thus the world without criminals would be a place where people will die due to inaction, boredom and cruelty. Such an ideal world, indeed, would be the most inhuman and most undesirable to mankind.

Thankfully, people called criminals automatically grow in every civil society as soon as man creates laws to govern it. The laws of man are always challenged by them since they are mostly against the laws of nature i.e. equality, justice, liberty and fraternity. States always have to face opposition from such people who break the law and are known as criminals. They may have an ugly appearance as weeds but they only provide oxygen to the society for its life. Thus in posterity, people recognize them not as criminals but as heroes.

The Path of Heroism

While man hates criminals, he worships the heroes. He can lay his most valuable possession i.e. his life on a single call from his hero. Who are these heroes? Are they law-abiding civilized people or the law-defying criminals? Take the example of Mahatma Gandhi in the modern world. He was perhaps the biggest criminal in the time of the British rule in India and he was jailed many times on charges of being waging war against the state. He spent more than 15 years in jail for his various crimes. Yet the people of India call him ‘Father of the Nation’ and love him more than any civilized person on the earth. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail, yet he is a national hero not only for South Africa but for the entire world.

In history, we can find numerous examples of great people who have broken the law and having been punished for their criminal acts. The list includes people like Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Socrates and Galileo. Yet it is these people who changed the history of the world and they are rightly worshiped as heroes by the masses even after their death.

How many people you have ever known who have become heroes without breaking the law and committing crimes in their time? Perhaps none. Heroes are created not by following the law but by breaking the law.

Rule of Divine Law

It is not always good to follow the law blindly as it provides order and rule of law in the society but kills the humanity as the implementation of most of the man-made laws are against the natural laws. Man-made laws are often disguised under the cover of natural laws like equality, justice, liberty and fraternity yet they serve just the opposite purpose. Most people see the letter of the law but fail to grasp its spirit. One must understand that breaking man-made laws is one of the fundamental requirements of all civil societies, if it contradicts the natural or divine laws. Thus every person who breaks the law need not be a criminal. One must go deeper into the facts before declaring a law-breaker to be a criminal. The key distinction perhaps would be to see if he is breaking the law for the interest of the humanity or for his own selfish end. Is it need-based or greed-based? There lies the distinction between good and evil, between a true criminal and a hero. One who is breaking a law for others or to fight injustice is a hero and not a criminal. A poet said “Jo lade din ke khet, Sura toi” (One who fights for the weak is the real hero).

5 Things Divorcing Parents Should Know

When you had your child or children your life changed from being focused on yourself to suddenly having to consider how all your life choices would impact the kids. That is the way it should be. What is in the child’s best interest should always be a parent’s top priority especially when considering divorce. The first thing you should know is our adversarial legal system is not child focused or family friendly. The emotional and financial price you pay when you each hire separate divorce lawyers is higher than you can now imagine.

Before I became a divorce attorney I was a special education teacher. My Masters is in Special Education, focusing on teaching severely emotionally disturbed children, so I came to the law with a powerful bias to act only in the best interest of the children. The 2nd important fact to know is how comfortable so many divorce lawyers are in spending their client’s college fund instead of quickly and economically helping the couple to negotiate a fair deal. After 8 years of litigation and witnessing the total financial and emotional devastation of too many families I vowed to no longer take adversarial divorces and to do only divorce mediation. In the following 3 years, after working with over 150 couples with 100% success rate, I am convinced that divorce mediation should be the solution of first resort for 85% of the couples who are contemplating divorce. So the 3rd thing you need to know is there is an alternative to divorce court, mediation.

It is easier to deal with a situation when basic information is already known. In the 8 community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) property division is pretty clear. What ever was totally owned prior to marriage or received by gift or inheritance is separate property that goes to the spouse who owns it. If it was partially paid for using wages or income earned during the marriage, the “community” gains an interest in it that can be calculated. Division of property in community property states is one of the easiest issues to deal with because it is so clear cut. But what about the other 42 states? These states use an equitable distribution system to divide marital property. Each state has its own rules that can be ascertained prior to starting the divorce process. So there is some uncertainty in non community property states but an experienced lawyer/mediator generally knows what the court will do in most situations and can be a valuable guide to couples who are unfamiliar with the laws. The 4th thing to keep in mind is that there is no point in fighting over property division. You can protect your co-parenting relationship and end up with more property if you divide everything the way a neutral 3rd party (mediator) suggests.

In litigated divorce cases, child custody and visitation issues can be the most contentious and emotional. If the parents can agree to a custody arrangement, which they eventually do in 90% of custody cases, they can avoid court altogether. Why should a couple wait until they are on the courthouse steps to make a deal? Only 10% of custody cases are litigated. A couple could always seek the services of a child therapist to advise them instead of going to court. The courts typically apply a “best interest of the child” standard in determining who should get primary custody. Wouldn’t the parents themselves be in the best position to decide how their children should be raised? When a couple works together in mediation they are in control of the final outcome, not lawyers or judges. When the couple has an intention to effectively co-parent by always keeping the best interest of the child foremost in their mind, they will produce a much more satisfying outcome than if a solution is imposed upon them from above. Child custody issues are the most inappropriate issues to be decided within an adversarial system. The win/lose game that is played in court always results in tension between the parents. Not only will this tension negatively affect the health and happiness of the parents but the children will be caught in the middle of a battle, ducking verbal and emotional bullets as they fly over their heads. The adversarial system does not protect the co-parenting relationship of parents and should be avoided if at all possible. An emotionally vulnerable client in the hands of a “zealous advocate” who is more concerned with enriching themselves than in helping their client is a dangerous combination. The last thing to keep in mind is that avoiding divorce attorneys and court should be the #1 priority if you want to protect your health, spirit, co-parenting relationship and pocketbook.

Divorce Attorneys – Important Questions to Ask at Your First Meeting

When preparing to meet with a Family Law Attorney in Reno, it helps to be prepared. Just like at a doctor’s appointment, it is sometimes difficult to remember all the things that you need to convey to the doctor or what advice they have given you. By taking a few moments in advance to prepare yourself for the appointment, you are likely to have a more meaningful meeting with your Divorce Attorney.

For starters, list out any questions or concerns you would like to discuss with your Divorce Lawyer. Bring this list to the appointment to insure that you cover all your questions or concerns. In most cases, you are paying for this time and will want to make the most of that time and avoid having to call your Divorce Attorney with a question later. There is no such thing as a bad question for your Divorce Lawyer, so don’t be afraid to ask. The more you know about Nevada Family Law and your case, the better you will understand what is happening during your Divorce or Child Custody Case.

Bring any documents, evidence or other information that is relevant to your case to the appointment. This is particularly important if you have been served with documents or your case has been ongoing prior to hiring the attorney. This will allow your Divorce Attorney to review the ongoing case and access what is happening and if any deadlines are looming.

Be honest during your appointment. An attorney needs all the facts to evaluate your case and help you prepare for the legal process. Surprises in court or during the case can be devastating so knowing about them and being prepared to address them avoids the “surprise” in Court and before the Judge.

You should keep notes during the appointment. This will allow you to review them later in the event you cannot recall what was discussed. The notes should be put in a safe place to avoid being viewed by an opposing party or other individuals.

Many clients want to bring family or friends to their appointments with them. I discourage doing this as it wipes away the attorney-client privilege if a third party is in the meeting. To fully protect your attorney-client privilege, it is best to have your family/friends wait in the waiting room during your meeting.

During the appointment, if you don’t understand a term used or something that is told to you, it is OK to ask! I want my clients to fully understand their case, the legal process and how my office functions. You will take away some of the emotion and stress that comes from litigation by simply making sure you understand. So if you don’t understand, please ask.

If you are setting a consult or an appointment with my office, I look forward to meeting you. I hope you take the time to read this entry and come as prepared as possible to our meeting so that I can provide the best service to you.

Understanding Federal Crimes

In the realm of law, crimes are considered to be within a jurisdiction. This means that the trials for certain crimes are the responsibility of certain areas of the country. At the most basic division, jurisdiction is broken into two levels: state level and federal level.

States usually have jurisdiction over most crimes that occur within that state. This may include murder, theft, trespassing, and other actions that break federal and state criminal laws. Some crimes are under both federal and state jurisdiction, meaning that the trials can be heard in state or federal courts.

Some particular crimes are considered federal offenses even though they occur in certain states. These crimes are considered crimes against the federal government and may include espionage, conspiracy against the government, illegal alien smuggling, and other crimes that threaten the federal government.

Other cases that may share joint jurisdiction as previously mentioned may become exclusively federal crimes depending on the magnitude of the crime. Examples of this include major cases of embezzling, bank fraud, and drug-related crimes.

In many cases, federal crimes are considered more severe than state crimes because they put more people in danger or affect a greater number of individuals. When an individual is convicted of a federal crime, he or she may serve time in a federal prison as opposed to a state jail.

Federal crimes often carry severe punishments, and individuals who commit them often see decades or even life in prison. These sentences may be in addition to severe fines that an individual is ordered to pay.

Law Enforcement Information

Law enforcement are members of different agencies who are committed to upholding and enforcing the laws we live by. Some members work in local settings, while others work to enforce national laws. Often, the workers are a big component in punishing and convicting those who commit a crime. They work day-in and day-out to ensure that the streets are safe and the criminals are put behind bars.

There are generally two goals that law enforcement officials are seeking: prevention and enforcement. The first goal, prevention, can be particularly difficult. Officials must work extremely hard to prevent occurrences of crimes. For instance, police officers will regularly patrol an area in an attempt to keep crime from happening there. They make their presence known. In a way it is a message to criminals that lets them know they are being watched and criminal behavior will not be tolerated. The second goal, enforcement, can also be just as difficult. Officials have the unique assignment to punish people for committing a crime. They must assign a form of punishment that fits the crime. Not only that, but must also seek rehabilitation for the criminal whenever possible.

Today, law enforcement jobs can be found on all kinds of levels. For example, there are local police throughout the nation. They are there to protect the rights of citizens in specified jurisdictions. Then, there are states and federal law professionals. These professionals work to apprehend suspects after they find sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, for instance, is a federal agency. They have enforcement officials who work to enforce federal laws. Members of state and federal penal systems are also considered law enforcement officials. They manage different aspects of containment and punishment of criminals. Along with that, other law enforcement professionals include: probation officers, judges, and district attorneys.

Although law enforcement is a broad term, everyone working in it is working towards the same goal. They work to enforce laws, protect the people, and prevent crime. There are officials all over the world that are performing duties that range from trainee to advanced enforcement. Some might be investigators, while others are managers or directors. Despite their positions, they are still required to work within their jurisdictions, the rules of their job, and the law. Not only are citizens required to follow the law, but law enforcement officials must follow the rules too.

Outsourcing Law Enforcement Transcription

As long as law enforcement agencies have been dealing with recorded audio and video, there’s been a need for law enforcement transcription. Despite advancements in technology, those pieces of audio and video that are entered into evidence or as part of an investigation still need to be transcribed for reasons of documentation and clarity.

The responsibility for transcription has commonly fallen on the shoulders of those professionals that require the work; law enforcement agencies, attorneys, public defenders, prosecutors, security companies, and others.

Unfortunately, over time the caseloads for law enforcement agencies have increased while there has been no increase (and sometimes a decrease) in personnel to manage the work and influx of forensic transcription.

Budget cuts have made it virtually impossible for many law enforcement agencies to bring on additional staff to assist with the translation and transcription, creating a nightmare of labor costs for many divisions.

Security Concerns

The possibility of outsourcing forensic transcription is one that is routinely discussed in many agencies, but many have reservations about utilizing outsourced services, particularly when delicate evidence in audio and video is concerned.

In the past many agencies were wary about sending out hardcopies of audio and video to be handled by a law enforcement transcription company when considering the potential of that content becoming “lost” or corrupted.

Likewise, the more hands an item passed through, the greater the chance of the material becoming damaged or leaked – especially to the media. These security concerns have encouraged a number of agencies to retain the transcription and translation work in house.

As technology has advanced however, new and far safer methods make it extremely simple to get the necessary content to a transcription service; Audio and video content can be uploaded to a secured server managed by the transcription service.

This secure upload makes it easy to monitor and maintain who has custody of the content because it passes easily from point A (the law enforcement agency that requires the transcription) to point B (the transcription service).

Reeling Budget Considerations

With the economical upset across the nation, many law enforcement agencies have suffered severe budget cuts that cost them both personnel and equipment. As such, it’s been extremely difficult for many of those agencies to justify paying an additional cost for outsourcing forensic transcription.

For many transcription services, it is common to charge by the line or by the page. Unfortunately it’s often very difficult to determine how many pages an interview will leave you with once it’s transcribed. There is another option that can make budgeting easier for law enforcement agencies, and that’s to opt for transcription services that charge by the minute.

That means if an agency needs transcription for a 46 minute interview – whether in audio or video format – then the agency is charged for 46 minutes.

The Real Benefit of Outsourcing Law Enforcement Transcription

The real problem facing law enforcement agencies, and any agency involved in the criminal justice system that is subject to strict budgets, is that in-house transcription takes up a tremendous amount of time and man power to complete.

Many agencies oppose outsourced transcription services because they fear the cost, as mentioned previously, but they don’t consider the actual cost of keeping that transcription in-house. Their intention is to save money by keeping transcription in-house but unfortunately that decision is costing some agencies a great deal of money.

*Salaries/Wages
Paid to those employees, secretaries, etc. who are required to transcribe the data – sometimes in the form of overtime depending on the case load.

*Management Expenses
Transcriptions typically need to be reviewed for accuracy and tracked to ensure that they are being completed in a timely manner. This can take time away from those in positions of authority within the department or agency.

*Cost of Information Technology
The cost of purchasing and maintaining software and hardware plus the training of employees and personnel to utilize the equipment for audio and video transcription

*Overflow and Delay Costs
There are inevitable times when delays occur which can pose significant problems to law enforcement cases where a deadline is concerned. Often the overflow and delayed material winds up in the hands of an outsourced company. Due to a looming deadline and thus a rapid turnaround requirement, the cost for such a service is often higher.

A Viable Alternative

Forensic and law enforcement transcription & translation outsourcing have become one of the primary ways that many agencies are finding budget relief. With skilled outsourcing to a service that employs trained forensic transcriptionists, law enforcement agencies gain a number of benefits:

*Reduced man hours of on-site personnel
*Elimination of the need to hire additional personnel to meet demands
*Improved quality of the transcribed content
*Reduced delays in transcription (rapid turnaround)

Outsourcing of forensic transcription means that far more agencies will be able to put their personnel where they belong – focusing on the agency’s primary responsibilities. With skilled outsourcing, law enforcement agencies, security companies, and so-on can trim costs because they are able to get transcripts completed on time, thus meeting the demand of an increased case load without the need to hire more staff or force current staff to burn the candle at both ends.

The new age of digital transcription via the web has given law enforcement agencies, public defenders offices, security companies, and others a means of maintaining the security of their data as it’s being passed off to trained forensic transcriptionists, and a rapid turnaround on those pressing cases that need to be handled quickly.

Cost Effective Law Enforcement Aerial Patrol

While many of our law enforcement officers will make a major stand in regards to flying helicopters and the versatility of the helicopter, for many law enforcement agencies there are far more cost effective options available to perform many of the same mission roles as a helicopter.

Starting with the helicopter it does offer vertical takeoff and decent as well as hover capability. Hover capability is vital for performing officer insertion or extraction in confined areas where landing is not normally practical. Hover capability is also critical for life rescue work.

We now enter into an area that may turn a few heads. How often and how needed are these capabilities for your particular organization? Larger cities or metropolitan areas may in fact need all of the capabilities of a helicopter and may have the need even for a large helicopter for proper tactical deployment of personnel and or equipment. Now if an analytical approach to bang for the buck is applied to a majority of law enforcement missions, the actual number of times per year that these capabilities were utilized are most likely very low. For many cities not willing or by the private service of EMS helicopter operators, or the services of the Coast Guard, many EMS missions are not even covered by law enforcement agencies.

Large cities and metro departments can even benefit from a slightly mixed fleet of affordable aircraft and more expensive helicopters. With smaller cheaper aircraft to perform normal patrols and surveillance with the more mission – enhanced aircraft providing the special mission services it can offer.

Many law enforcement agencies not only in the United States but also across the world have made some very significant purchases in regards to new helicopters in the past few years. Aircraft such as the Eurocopter B2 and B3’s as well as Bell 206 L4 and 407 helicopters. Agencies have been replacing older aircraft with high component and or high airframe times with newer aircraft with more performance and the ability to safely carry the many mission support tools needed for airborne law enforcement.

Agencies have been able to find ways to procure new aircraft but very often the maintenance and repair area after the initial purchase is overlooked. Right along with this oversight is the increased operational costs and possible increase in insurance costs associated with the new purchase. A typical scenario seen across the industry is when an aircraft enters a major inspection is that the money needed to repair or replace the inspection items is often not available or was not budgeted for in the maintenance operating budget. This can be an administrative short-sight, an agency with a fixed maintenance budget, inaccurate information on DOC’s (Direct Operating Costs) as the area in which you operate may have more atmospheric contaminates to cause corrosion that were not taken into account at the time of purchase. Another possibility can be the hours that were actually flown exceeded the planned hours for the budget, this brings those time life items to an earlier calendar time than previously planned.

Now where to get approval for the unplanned expenses or if planned and the actual costs are higher than estimated? Since the budgets are tight many agencies have had to keep aircraft grounded until such time that funds are allocated, and the aircraft components repaired to get the aircraft back in the air. Consequently, have had some aircraft become the dreaded hanger queen for months while awaiting funding. This not only makes the unit less efficient but also sets the stage for the same scenario for the following year as other aircraft now bear the burden of additional flight hours from the previously mentioned grounded ship now carrying its fair share of the flight hour program.

The unit supervisor may be suddenly faced with some rather humbling data to provide the supervising police staff or civilian officials in regards to budget.

Operationally, there are some options available, be it for a small town or the large law enforcement unit. A quick look at actual mission roles and calls will normally reveal that calls responded to only required an aircraft to have slow circular flight capability and that hover capability was in fact not needed. A check with your pilots will also reveal a safety reason for doing orbits rather than hover. Hovering burns more fuel, the pilot is also in a vulnerable position in regards to performance (high torque, high EGT, or other operational parameters), and it is also a very vulnerable position if the engine or some other component decides to fail at this critical time.

For helicopters to effectively enter into an autorotative state there has to be enough potential energy available to become a successful maneuver. The pilot requires two things to perform this critical skill, altitude and or forward speed. Forward speed and altitude are the sources of our potential energy which induce the rotational forces needed to safely perform autorotation. Since most police work is performed at low altitude the safe pilot will keep the aircraft moving forward in the event that an autorotation should have to be performed.

A gyroplane is in a constant state of autorotation and in the event to make an emergency landing, the pilot simply maintains airspeed to sustain autorotation and perform the landing approach to touchdown.

Options that make a lot of sense from a budget point of view are, helicopters that can be operated for patrol use at a far cheaper rate than our mission specialized aircraft. This does not necessarily mean the aircraft is not capable of many of the same missions. Since the growth of the UAV market, many systems used for these aircraft are the same systems required for law enforcement use. These systems have become quite lightweight and compact in size. Another option is to use another aircraft that is still a rotorcraft but can operate far more efficiently than the helicopter in many of the same mission roles- the gyroplane. I would like to direct your attention to what Ken Wallis has performed in both testing and actual missions roles with his gyroplanes. Pilots may frown on this move but they are your pilots and expected to fly as your pilots. Naturally training will be required but their job is to fly. The same holds true for the mechanics that may raise a fit about working on a small gyroplane. It is the ability to perform the mission that is their responsibility and management’s responsibility to the community to provide effective law enforcement capability but it shouldn’t come at too great of a burden to the taxpayer.

With these thoughts in mind as well as privatized law enforcement roles for gyroplanes Groen Brothers has recently released their newest gyroplane model. The Sparrowhawk III is designed for the use in homeland security roles, private law enforcement / security as well a normal law enforcement roles. The affectivity of light gyroplanes was been validated time and again from Ken Wallis and his use of specialized equipment to perform cadaver searches to port surveys for Saudi Arabia. Not too long ago the German government entered into testing of gyroplanes in a law enforcement role but not much feedback to the rest of the law enforcement community has surfaced from these tests.

If there is any indication of the value of the operational advantages of the gyroplane as simple look at the Sikorsky demonstrator and test vehicle X-2, a coaxial hybrid with a large pusher propeller located at the tail. For pilots and mechanic that simply are not informed of the aircraft type resistance to change can be accepted. Once they understand that the probable future of law enforcement aviation is most likely going to be an aircraft of similar design as the X-2, then the benefits of gyroplane technology will come to be appreciated.

Sticker shock of continuing maintenance costs after the initial purchase of a helicopter has left many agencies and local governments shaking their heads at the high costs they most likely never thought they would encounter. There are economical options; helicopters operations in most agencies began with small simple reciprocating powered helicopters. The purchase of former military helicopters showed the potential of turbine powered law enforcement helicopters but the added budgetary costs of newer aircraft and the tightening of local government purse strings has even lead to the loss of some law enforcement airborne units all-together. I am sure that any of those pilots would rather be flying and performing their law enforcement role than to be grounded or without a job. The modern gyroplane is no tinker toy and for any that approach the aircraft with as much of an attitude they will quickly get themselves into trouble. Like any other aircraft it does have operational parameters for safe flight and only flies like a gyroplane, not like an airplane and not like a helicopter, it is its’ own unique form of aerial transportation.

The gyroplane also provides as good of an observation platform as any helicopter and much of the associated vibrations found with helicopters is not as pronounced in gyroplanes putting less vibration on fragile equipment such as radios and navigation equipment. This means lighter equipment can replace bulkier equipment.

In regards to the dreaded airworthiness directives that can quickly down a fleet of helicopters the combined use of gyroplanes can still keep a unit effective and performing law enforcement aerial duties at a fraction of the cost. Inclusive to gyroplane maintenance costs is they typically have far fewer time life components to replace, inspect or overhaul further reducing the operational dollars needed to support the unit’s mission. Fuel being of concern of late can also be brought under a manageable budget with many aircraft using premium auto fuel in place of expensive Avgas or jet fuel.

So before a unit decides it can no longer provide the needed support to ground officers or provide valuable service to the community by closing the hanger doors. The unit may want to explore the possibilities of using a platform that quite simply provides more bang for the buck than the helicopter to perform many of the same missions.

How Lawyers Can Market Themselves For Divorce Cases

Indianapolis is the fourteenth largest city in the United States. It has 829,718 residents according to the 2010 census. Over the past 10 years ending December 31, 2010 Indianapolis averaged 4705 new residents per year. Indianapolis reported 4844 divorce petitions filed in 2010, which represents an above average filing year and 2009 reported 5504, which was a significant increase over the average. It does not, however, rank among the top 50 divorce cities in the United States. The dubious distinction of being the divorce capital of the world belongs to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Many of the divorce petitions filed in Indianapolis are pro-se, which means that the person filing the petition is representing themselves. For the rest of the litigants who file or who are named as the respondent in these legal proceedings, they will be represented by a lawyer. Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys compete for the roughly 800 potential clients who file each month and they do so by print and electronic advertising. As the internet becomes a more popular venue for commerce, more and more lawyers and law firms are finding the internet to be a very dynamic venue in which to advertise their services. They employ a number of strategies to place themselves at the top of the heap, including paying major search engines for the right to be listed prominently at the top of the search pages. Since Google has the lion’s share of the internet market, this is the place where lawyers compete for position. At least those that know and understand the workings of the internet.

Despite this competition among divorce attorneys, and between all other attorneys for that matter, referrals from other clients and other lawyers remain the most common means of bringing new clients to the office. This may be due to the fact legal issues in general and divorce in particular tend to deal with highly personal and sensitive issues, and clients need to feel safe with the people who represent them. Finding lawyers that are known to their friends goes a long way to subdue any fears they might have about sharing their inner most thoughts with a complete stranger.

Many lawyers do not practice in this field, but virtually every full service law firm and even boutique law firms have at least one lawyer on staff who handle divorce and family law matters. There are very few attorneys who claim to practice exclusively in the family law arena, but there are a few. While this area of law is not highly technical or difficult, it does require a broad range of knowledge and it is not something a complete novice should tackle alone. There are simply too many pitfalls waiting for the inexperienced lawyer to stumble into as the case develops.

Law Enforcement Degree – Why Going Online is Becoming SO Popular

Are you considering a law enforcement degree? Are you interested in becoming:

o Police officer
o Detective
o FBI Agent
o DEA Agent
o U.S. Marshal
o Department of Homeland security officer
o U.S. Secret Service agent

If any of these law enforcement careers seem interesting and sound like something you would like to pursue, consider a law enforcement degree as this will lead you one step closer to your perfect career.

Law Enforcement Degree Programs – What are they like?

As our world becomes more complex and technically advance, so is the demand on more highly trained individuals. As in any other career, law enforcement careers today require more and more education training from prospective applicants.

Most positions within this field require an associate’s degree, bachelor’s or even master’s degree, usually in criminal justice. Not only will a higher level of education, such as a bachelor, masters or doctorate degree, lead to greater salary but also to more job opportunities and career advancement choices.

Law enforcement degree programs will train you for a wide spectrum of skills, allowing for a wide range of career options. You will learn about the court and judicial system, police procedures and policies, prison systems, rehabilitation and control of prisoners.

Law Enforcement Courses/Curriculum

Aside from the study of law and the legal system, courses focus on accounting, business finance, computer science as well as physical education to promote fitness and performance on the job. Foreign language fluency is important for federal employment.

In a law enforcement training program you will be exposed to courses in criminal justice, police administration, police management, police organization, criminal law, criminal procedures, crime scene investigation, interviewing and interrogation, criminal counseling, juvenile delinquency, pubic safety – to name a few.

As you can see from the long list of courses offered, law enforcement is becoming a popular and fast growing field. As a result, colleges and universities offering training in this area are able to provide many courses to choose from. By exploring all your options within this degree program, you can pinpoint your strengths, areas of interest and design your ideal future career. You can do so much with a law enforcement degree – make sure you find out what works best for YOU.

Online Law Enforcement Degree Programs

Online education is on the raise so it’s not surprising that most online colleges and universities also offer law enforcement training. Online degree programs give you the freedom from attending regularly scheduled classes and allow you to go to school while working full time and managing a family. They are becoming very popular as they are a way to advance your career while keeping your current job. Many employers will pay their employees to go back to school, online.

There are so many online schools offering law enforcement online degree programs, how are you to choose one? The best approach is to select a few, request information and research, read about their programs and courses offered as well as class/degree requirements. Some schools offer complete online degree programs, others require some in class time. Find out all the details before signing on to a program, be it an online associate, bachelor or online master degree law enforcement program. When researching schools, in addition to program details, try to find out faculty qualifications as well as the percentage of students that graduate and find jobs upon graduation.

Law Enforcement Careers

The primary goal of all law enforcement professionals is to protect individuals within their jurisdiction. With this career you could work as a state or federal agent, police officers, inspector, sheriff or detective. There are many opportunities for specialization within this field and the list of job titles is extensive.

Police officers are usually employed at a local level and perform task such as traffic control, regular patrols, investigation of theft and assault as well as community policing.

Detectives and Investigators specialize in one area of crime and are assigned cases within that area. Their primary role is to collect evidence, conduct interviews, and examine records all leading to crime solution, arrest and prosecution.

Federal agents are employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and perform investigations of all types of crimes. The list of task and job opportunities is extensive. Spend some time reading and researching all the opportunities and educational requirements before choosing an area to specialize in within the law enforcement filed.

Law Enforcement Articles – The Need for Interview and Interrogation Training

At no time in our modern history have more demands been placed upon the law enforcement officer. Communities are extremely concerned about crime and they are demanding that law enforcement agencies “do something about it.”
It seems that every day, violent crime and drugs occupy the front page of every newspaper in America. Politicians at the local, state and national level like to give the impression of being “tough on crime” and espouse philosophies which, at least outwardly, seem to support that toughness.

At the same time, the public (via the media) is scrutinizing the actions of the law enforcement community more closely than ever before.

The public wants results and, more importantly, to feel safe. Yet, that same public will not tolerate any perceived abuses of suspects’ rights in the process.

Primarily due to the increased cost of incarceration, a concerted push is being made to release prisoners from jails and prisons, with the ensuing increase in probationers and parolees.

Probation/Parole Officers have increased caseloads with no end in sight.

Juvenile crime is sky-rocketing.

Younger, more fearless criminals are becoming the norm, with the media bringing sad tale after tale into our homes on a nightly basis.

When I speak to new recruits, I tell them that what the public wants in a police officer is simple: we want applicants that are warm, caring individuals who are capable of speaking to public groups; conducting demonstrations at schools; counseling troubled youth; rendering first aid; interacting with and assessing problems from a community perspective.

In addition to all of those admirable qualities, we want much more.

If a bad guy is trying to get into our home, we want an absolutely fearless gladiator who will willingly risk his/her very life to apprehend the suspect (without injury to the burglar, of course) and protect our property.

We want, expect and demand all of this for a salary that is far less than society pays a plumber!

Whether a person is a Probation/Parole Officer supervising 100 felons, a Police Officer in a patrol car, a Fish and Wildlife Officer working all alone 50 miles from any back-up, a military law enforcement officer or a Federal Agent working in a structured environment, being a law enforcement officer is an extraordinarily tough and complex job which demands that we apply all of our skills and training.

How has the law enforcement community dealt with the ever-increasingly need for interview training?

Poorly, I’m afraid. Here’s how it works…

In virtually every modern law enforcement agency, much care and consideration is given to the allocation of training, especially that training which requires both expenditures of time and money.

Traditionally, different segments of the agency (patrol, detectives, administration, etc.) have had to compete in a sense for their share of the almighty training dollar budget.

As a result, it is incumbent upon agency administrators to prioritize the available training money.

Training in most modern law enforcement agencies has taken on the semblance of a triage system at an emergency room. Administrators want to send everyone to training, so they end up throwing some money at those who are “bleeding” the most. Due to civil liability concerns, patrol officers mainly receive training emphasizing the motor skills areas (firearms, arrest techniques, emergency driving tactics, handgun retention skills, etc.), said areas presenting the most opportunity for misapplication and a resultant lawsuit.

Investigators receive training geared toward their primary areas of emphasis (interview & interrogation, crime scene investigation, investigative specialties, etc.).

Ironically, an objective analysis of the component parts of the job of patrol officer reveals interviewing skills are utilized far more often than any other skill. Think about it, what skill is used more often than the ability to talk with people and elicit information?

Conversely, what will get an officer in trouble with the public faster than an inability to communicate?

  • How many times in any officer’s life will he or she use deadly force?
  • How many times in any given month will he or she get into a vehicular pursuit?
  • How many instances of dealing with hazardous materials will crop up in an average month?

Contrast the frequency of these incidents against the absolute certainty that we will have to interact with people during each and every shift.

We routinely qualify in shooting, attend yearly hazardous materials safety courses, attend Emergency Vehicle Operations courses and the like, yet most patrol officers never attend formal interview and interrogation instruction after an initial exposure to it in the basic training academy.

Consider the following sober statistics:

o Police Training academies in the United States offer, on average, only 4 hours of training on interviewing techniques during Basic Training.

o 60% of law enforcement training academies in the U.S. don’t offer any interview training at all during Basic Training.

o Less than 20% of all law enforcement officers have received in-service training in interviewing techniques.

Unfortunately, in most law enforcement agencies, the investigators are repeatedly sent to interview and interrogation training, while the patrol officers who apply to attend are routinely turned down. In the bureaucratic effort to make training dollars stretch a long way, administrators often prioritize training requests, sometimes based upon outdated or inaccurate information.

The need exists for inexpensive, easy methods benefit police officers without regard to job assignment, all in an affordable manner.

Compounding the training problem is the current countrywide push toward “Community Policing” and all of the responsibilities inherent with that system. Simply put, Community Policing can be best described as a philosophy of empowerment that allows the beat officer to solve problems. By a collaborative effort with others in the community, police officers are responsible for actually resolving the community concerns, rather than just taking enforcement action.

While the philosophy sounds good, the average law enforcement patrol officer has not been given the tools with which to conduct investigations, interview people, make public presentations and achieve this collaboration to solve problems. Federal grant money has been spread across the country in an effort to promote Community Policing.

Officers have been hired, equipment has been purchased and public relations efforts have been extensive in this area. Unfortunately, officers that do not have the foundation of investigative training may find themselves in an uncomfortable position.

One Community Policing officer recently told me “If I had wanted to interview neighbors, show photo lineups, speak to public groups and work extensively with other public agencies, I would have been a detective. What happened to good, old-fashioned police work?”

One of the primary components of Community Policing is the ability to interact with people in a non-threatening manner which elicits maximum information.

Most basic training academies teach a block of instruction on “Interviewing and Interrogation.” However, these traditional systems stress the structured interview approach to interviewing. The new trainee soon realizes that he or she will conduct hundreds or thousands of street interviews while on patrol and will perform relatively few formal, structured interviews in an interrogation room setting.

There are some very fine formal “Interview and Interrogation” type training classes for law enforcement officers out there (being a polygraph examiner, I have attended quite a few of them), but they tend to emphasize the structured interrogation aspect of the situation and are geared more toward an investigator than a patrol officer.

Look for interview training that does not deal with just the structured interview/interrogation type setting. Again, an analysis of a patrol officer’s daily job reveals that the vast majority of contacts that he or she experiences are not in a structured setting conducive to a formalized method of interview and interrogation.

The Focused Interviewing system is not one based totally on theory, but rather upon practical application. These techniques are being successfully used daily, are very easy to learn and do not require reference texts to be carried in the field.

In this system, we will look at what is wrong (or at least ineffective) with typical street interview techniques, what led us to use techniques that don’t work, what does work and how to develop techniques that will dramatically increase our “confession” or “incriminating statement” rates in dealing with offenders and will be of great value in clarifying statements obtained from victims and witnesses.

Dealing With Divorce

Everyone knows that Vegas is the place to be for any sort of celebration such as a bachelor or bachelor party or even just going out on the town for a weekend for fun. In some cases Vegas becomes a little hard to handle and some people can often lose what they originally came with. The next morning many things can be a surprise to you, including a new wedding band on your finger or a headache that is worse than ever. If you are waking up next to someone who you do not know and cannot remember and there is a signed document there you may need the assistance of a Las Vegas Divorce Attorney. A Las Vegas Divorce Lawyer can get both parties out of the issue without a very difficult trial of events.

There are many ways to ensure that big mistakes like these do not happen or are less likely to happen on your very fun trip planned for Las Vegas, Nevada. In Nevada there are many different rules than in some other states and sometimes it is important to make sure that you know what those are before you get there. Another good way to make sure that nothing goes too incredibly wrong is to go with a group of friends rather than alone. The chances are good that one person in your group will probably want to stay alert throughout the night making sure that everyone is okay. If you have that person you can guarantee that you will be a little safer.

A lot of people like to go to Vegas to let off steam and let loose and relax, but do not get too relaxed. Remember that your visit to Vegas is meant to be enjoyable. You should not feel like your mind has been erased when you are finally heading home. A good way to do this is to make sure that you are fully prepared for any sort of extra partying that you may not be ready for. Do not lose control of yourself because this can end in multiple bad decisions.]

Las Vegas is a city known for some crazy nights but you do not have to be a part of something that you do not want to. If you are not there to gamble and drink and party in the clubs, there are plenty of other things to do. There are several different relaxation resorts and spas as well as many shows and cool museums to look around in. If you are interested in shopping there is also a great social scene with lots of designer stores to get exactly what you want. The night scene may be a little too exciting for you, but that is totally okay.

Vegas changes a little from day to night and for some people Vegas is not all about gambling relentlessly and drinking until they pass out. If this is not for you, there are plenty of other fun things to do as well. The most important thing is to remember to have fun and enjoy.

The Adaptation of Fashion Trends

Fashion is more or less synonymous with females. Most women have this undying craving of dressing up according to the on going fashion trends, no matter whether it suits them well or not. Fashion trends which change almost every fortnight, are endearingly followed by the female segment of our society. However, a million dollar question remains unanswered that, where does these “Fashion Trends” exactly start from? Since most ladies pick up the trends by watching their friends and peers, the exact source of the fashion trends gets lost somewhere down the line.

The fashion trends actually start from the runways of London, Paris and New York. It is the ramp of these renowned fashion events that head starts the so called “Latest Fashion Trend” fever throughout the world. Designers persistently keep renovating the fashion styles and come up with varied designs every now and then and so does the trends in fashion markets too.

Since most of the people are unable to buy the exuberantly expensive brands showcased on the ramps, people tend to pick the reasonably priced imitations of the same. Most departmental stores copy the runway dress designs which are later sold like hot cakes in the market.

Its not just the runway shows which influence the public in general, but the celebrities too, who are considered as the style icons by youth. Youngsters imitate their favorite stars and try to dress like them in order to prove themselves fashionable enough among their friend circle. On one hand where the younger lot follow the dressing sense of celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Jamie Lynn Spears, the older lot on the other, dress as per the various popular television shows like Desperate Housewives.

There is nothing wrong in following the latest trends or styles but the trick is to copy the trends sensibly. The most important thing to remember while dressing is to maintain your own individuality within the fashionable drapes. One is not suppose to look like a carbon cut out of a runway model but the thing is to express the same style through your own self and as they say when you will be comfortable within your own skin you would indeed be making the biggest fashion statement around.

Fashionable Style For Athletic Women

It’s been a long time since women have been actively participating in different kinds of sports. Athletic women apparel can be just simple t-shirt and shorts. Many sporty women are thought to be lesbians because of what they wear. But with the rise of the fashionable sports icon such as Maria Sharapova, women have learned to combine fashion and sports perfectly.

Even you are into “boy’s sports” or any other sports, you can still look good and fashionable. Here are some of the tips on how to balance fashion and sports.

• Putting some details on your uniform is one way of being stylish without sacrificing the total look of your uniform. You can ask your clothing suppliers to put embroidery hemlines or necklines. You can also have different designs like butterflies, flowers or whatever icon you want to put for your outfit. Other details such as ribbons or buttons that you can add to your outfit depending on the sports that you are in.

• Try new different colors to your uniform for a trendier look. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors like pink, red and yellow with the neutral one such as black and white for more elegant mishmash. You can also make use of glittering colors like gold and silver. But don’t make use of too much color.

• The kind of design of the uniform makes it stand out. But you cannot just put designs on your uniform without taking into consideration its suitability and functionality for the game. You can play with the cuts and fabrics that will be using. Patterns are also great designs that you can include to your uniform. You can also use fabrics that have patterns that match the design that you want.

• In sports, the opportunities for you to add different accessories are limitless. Even sports attire has its appropriate accessories that you can add to your look. There are different wholesale apparel like wrist bands, brightly colored athletic tanks and other paraphernalia that will complete your outfit. Personalized accessories can also be used.

Sporty women who combine fashion and athleticism are getting much more attention nowadays. There are numerous ways that an athletic woman can achieve that striking feminine charm even in a sporty outfit, one just have to know the right mix and match of designs and styles.

Travel Risk Management: Are You Ready for a Crisis?

Introduction

If you know that business travel is not without its risk and the potential for crisis, then you need to read this article. In this article we are going to talk about the management and containment of crisis as it relates to travelers and travel managers. The objective of this article is to share with you the collective knowledge on managing crisis and significantly improve your ability to identify and manage a crisis but also improve your business travel efficiency.

During this article I am going to discuss travel risk myths, crisis management, plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department.

Crisis by definition is something you didn’t have a plan for or something in which you are unprepared. Additionally, it can be a series of events that in concert create a crisis. Events or issues that occur, to which you have a plan and strategy, is merely an incident.

Crisis Management/Leadership

The first thing is to clarify what is the difference between crisis management and leadership. More importantly, which one is the more important?

Crisis management relates to the response to event/s that threaten your business, travelers or travel activity. The event leads and you follow with plans, decisions and actions.

Crisis leadership, on the other hand, is more about getting ahead of the events and issues to prevent, management and even contain the impact to your business or business travel activities. While management is a portion of the leadership demand, your actions and involvement lead the outcomes rather than a more passive wait and act approach with pure crisis management.

Crisis leadership is the less practiced of the two, but the most significant in terms of results and reduction in risk and impact. If you take nothing else away from this session, it should be that your focus should always be on Crisis Leadership, not crisis management.

Myths

There are many myths and half-truths about crisis, disruption and threats within the travel management sector. Much of this misinformation has originated from travelers themselves, media, travel managers, friends and family or so called “experts”.

For example, many travelers and planners are focused on terrorism. The reality is, you have a very, very small chance of being exposed or affected directly by a terrorist act. It doesn’t mean you should discount it as a threat altogether but it shouldn’t dominate your plans or processes if not a proportional threat to you and your travelers. Conversely, almost everyone overlooks motor vehicle accidents. Yet, they happen far more frequently, can have devastating affect on travelers and are the least common plan contained within company travel management departments.

Travelers and travel managers must be prepared, educated and have supporting plans for any event that has the potential to delay, disrupt or harm the traveler or the business.

The most common events include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Airline delays or cancellations
  • Airport closures or disruptions
  • Transport delays
  • Bad weather
  • Sickness and illness
  • Petty crimes
  • Hotel fires
  • Political disputes
  • Demonstrations and gatherings

Motor vehicle accidents within your own country can be stressful and dangerous but on an overseas business trip they can be 100 times more challenging and dangerous. Consider language, local authorities, first respond, standard of healthcare, families and support in your plans and initial response.

Airline delays and cancellations. They happen all the time but they are not just an administrative response. You may need to consider safety, transport, quarantines, security threats, government response and wide spread suspension of services to overcome the issue and maintain safety of your travelers.

Airport closures or disruptions. Failed systems, electrical problems, threats, weather, construction and so on can prevent you even getting to your flight. Consider the impact this has on your plans and how your traveler will need to possibly extend stay, move to alternate airport or find accommodation.

All other transport delays and disruptions can create crisis when everyone no longer has access to trains, buses, key roads or even water transport. Have a plan and add it to your immediate decision making process.

2010 and the commencement of 2011 has seen travel of all kind affected by natural disasters and weather. Weather and natural forces have and always will impact travelers. It does and will continue to occur. It is highly concerning how unprepared travelers and companies are for volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, earthquakes and general bad weather.

People get sick or feel unwell all the time. This is compounded significantly when traveling. Standard of care, language, access, cost, complications, choice and numerous other location based concerns will determine just how at risk your traveler will be. A single, “one-size-fits-all” plan or solution will fail and you need to be aware of these issues immediately with the onset of an affected traveler.

Crimes are a reality of any city in the world. However, travelers seldom know the risks and may be preyed upon by thieves and criminals. The loss of phones, money, and other items may seem less likely to constitute a crisis but when overseas, injured or not able to speak the local language, all these simple events can create a major concern for your business travelers. This can be amplified if you have a senior executive or a group of executives affected.

Hotel fires and emergencies are more common than most people think. The immediate threat to an individual is fairly obvious but the impact that the lack of accommodation choices can create from the temporary or permanent closure of a hotel is a much bigger concern. This was graphically displayed during the Mumbai terror attacks (as extra ordinary as the event was) when most of the best/preferred hotels were now unavailable in a key part of the city. This removed thousands of rooms for business travelers and forced many to cancel or significantly alter travel plans just because there were a lack of suitable accommodation options, whether affected by the events or not.

Any event that alters the political stability of a location or region or results in thousands of people out on the streets constitutes a risk to your business travel plans and travelers. They can happen spontaneously or take time to develop. The immediate dangers and the ongoing disruption can have a major impact on your business or traveler.

Again, plans, preparation and thought to these issues will greatly reduce the impact and improve your business too.

Now that we have removed the most common misconceptions, let’s focus on the management and containment of a crisis.

Crisis management

The key to successful crisis management is planning, training, plans, decision-making and adaptability.

Planning

Given the issues previously covered, you now have a better insight into how and why planning is important to remove the more emotive issues from the realities of real business threats and events.

Planning needs to include multiple departments and perspectives to be truly effective. One of the greatest weaknesses I see regularly is that departments continue to manage the risk of travel through multiple departments with multiple plans. The input and plan needs to be unified. Depending on the company, it may include travel managers, security, HR, finance, marketing, C-suite and operations.

All plans need to be continuously updated, location specific, aide in the decision-making process and modular enough have elements extracted quickly and effectively. Modern, effective plans embrace technology. Rapid, efficient access to information, along with running updates is the hallmarks of a modern sustainable plan, regardless of the size of the issue or the company.

Training

No plan is effective without training and rehearsal. Training, whether through simulations, drills or live, full-scale exercises are vital to the success of any crisis situation. Such sessions don’t need to be boring or overly complicated but must include travel managers and planners along with the more common crisis and emergency managers.

Increasingly, training is becoming a mandatory requirement for key positions and roles. It can be linked to internal HR processes but must support the business objectives and measurable on how it reduces the risk to people, business, brand and travel demands.

While the plan creates the framework for crisis decision-making, teams can learn a lot from training on how and when to adapt their plans. How the team interacts, strength, weakness, leaders, followers, limitations, tools and many more planned and surprise outcomes are possible with effective training.

Adaptations

No plan will completely script all the events, issues and options available for every plausible travel delay, disruption or crisis. You need to be able to adapt and evolve from the original plan and intention. This can only be achieved with planning, plans and training.

Solutions So what do I need in my plan?

Here is the best travel risk management content for your plan:

  • Objective(the single most important part of any travel policy)
  • References
  • Scope
  • Legal
  • Insurance
  • Finance
  • Reimbursements
  • Limits
  • Priority/precedence
  • Management Authority/ies
  • Situations

Procedure will likely cover:

  • Planning
  • Resources
  • Tools
  • Authority
  • Executive Decision making
  • Limits
  • Budgets
  • Training
  • Compliance
  • Pre-trip admin
  • Providers
  • Booking
  • Accommodation
  • Airlines
  • Ground Transport
  • Safety and Security
  • Health and wellness
  • Emergency
  • SOP/Actions on
  • Insurance
  • Travel Monitoring /tracking
  • Reporting
  • HR
  • Entitlements
  • Threat/risk levels
  • Shelter in Place
  • Relocations/evacuations
  • Management Authority
  • Review

Don’t forget your risk assessment will need to include the key elements:

  • Traveller
  • Location
  • Activity
  • Support/Resources
  • Response

Conclusion

There you have it. Now you know what is required, how do you rate your current plans and preparedness?

You now have the most relevant issues and areas to focus upon that will reduce or contain the majority of incidents you may face your travelers will be safer, your business more profitable and your costs will be contained by reducing your exposure to expensive crisis events.

We have debunked popular travel threat myths, identified the difference between crisis management and leadership, outlined plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department. Review your plans and make the immediate improvements.

You will know when you have an effective crisis management system for your travel risk management strategy when you have little to no crisis.

You may have numerous events or incidents but you have a plan, you’re prepared and your decision making is fast and consistent. If not, you have failed and you will run from crisis to crisis on a regular basis.

Travel Insurance FAQs

There are a lot of misconceptions related to travel insurance, and understandably most people aren’t as well versed in the fine details of this type of cover as I am – I can’t say that I blame them! However, many misconceptions put people at risk of spending unnecessary amounts of money on areas that could and should be covered by their policy.

So, I’ve compiled this mini travel insurance FAQ to assist those who have doubts, worries or questions about what they should look for.

Q: What should I do before going abroad?

A: Make sure you have checked the FCO Travel Advice for the countries you are visiting. Check you have sufficient money and that your passport is up-to-date. Take a photocopy of your passport details and keep in a safe place. Check what inoculations and visas are required. Note down the numbers and addresses of the UK embassy and consulate in the country you’re traveling to.

Q: Should I take out travel insurance before my holiday?

A: I may be a little biased on this one, but yes! It is extremely important that you take out adequate travel insurance even for short trips or visits to Europe, and absolutely imperative in countries outside the EU where different conditions make illness more likely and affordable medical cover that bit more difficult to get hold of. It also covers for cancellation as soon as you book your trip.

If you travel to a country, or part of a country, against FCO advice, it is unlikely that your insurer would meet any claim, however. Should the FCO advice change after you have booked a holiday, check the position with your tour operator and travel insurance company.

Q: Should I be looking at single trip or annual multi trip travel insurance?

A: Only you can answer that really – although single trip is (generally) cheaper, it does exactly what it says and covers you for just the one trip. By contrast, annual multi trip travel insurance will cover you for the whole year on various breaks, making it the choice if you think you’re likely to travel that much. You may find that just taking two trips a year would make annual multi trip travel insurance cheaper than the single trip variety!

Q: What sort of reason for cancellation is valid to ensure cover?

A: As long as your reason is within the scope of cover provided by your policy, then you should be entitled to claim in most cases. Legitimate reasons for cancelling your trip could include an illness or death in the family (as defined by your policy), freak weather conditions suspending travel for 24 hours, burglary or damage to your home, being a victim of criminal assault resulting in you being medically unable to travel, being called up for emergency military service or jury duty (subject to the specific terms and conditions of the policy). Likewise, if the hotel or resort (for independent travelers) you’re due to visit suffers from a terrorist attack in the days leading up to your travel, you will generally be able to claim.

Q: Who pays if I need to be hospitalized overseas or flown back to the UK?

A: If you have proper cover, the travel insurance company should pay such fees. If not, the cost will fall to you or your relatives and friends.

Q: Is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) the same as health insurance?

A: No. The free European Health Insurance Card shows that the holder is entitled to reduced or free emergency care only within the EU. You will still need travel insurance to ensure you will be covered fully in the event of illness or injury. The EHIC card will help though, by reducing your initial outlay before you can be reimbursed by your insurance company.

Q: Is my pre existing medical condition a big issue?

A: Generally, yes. Check the wording of your policy to ensure it covers pre-existing medical conditions. Often they’re not covered unless you pay an extra premium, and if you fail to declare your condition when you buy your cover, you’ll be unable to claim on it. As always the key advice here is to check the policy wording with a fine tooth comb.

Q: How can I find out whether it is safe to travel to a particular country?

A: It is strongly advised that you check the FCO Travel Advice section of their website. This information is regularly updated and should give you solid advice on where is and is not safe to travel (remember, areas officially outlined as ‘unsafe’ will seldom be covered by travel insurance policies).

Q: Is it safe to travel after a terrorist attack overseas?

A: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as risk-free travel, and the absence of advice against travel to a particular country or area does not imply that the FCO guarantees safety in that country or area.

I hope this travel insurance FAQ has proved useful – it’s only really scratching the service and each policy is different, but with this advice you should be in a better position to shop around, next time you need to purchase travel insurance.

Prominent Architects in Phoenix

Working with outstanding Phoenix real estate agents is one of the best ways to find the perfect Phoenix homes that will best meet you and your family’s needs. Once a Phoenix realtor understands the type of property you wish to purchase, he or she will apply that criteria when searching every Phoenix real estate listing until the best property matches are found, thus saving you time and money. As you begin settling in, you will have ample opportunities to explore this beautiful city. Phoenix is home to several prominent architects whose talent is on display in remarkable buildings in Phoenix that they have designed.

Phoenix-based Gould Evans Associates, LC + Wendell Burnett Architects were honored with the 2007 American Institute Honor Awards for Architecture for their design of the Palo Verde Library/Maryvale Community Center owned by the City of Phoenix. The connection of the mind and body was used as a design theme that features two equally sized “volumes,” which are lit at the bottom and top, so you can see the activity going on inside from the outside. The library is housed in one side, and the gymnasium in the other. Care was taken to incorporate “green” building products, including floor tile made from recycled tires and cork, while walls were made from oriented strand board made from recycled wood. Formaldehyde-free insulation was also used.

The award-winning Phoenix architectural firm of richard + bauer Architecture was the design organization that created the Meinel Optical Science Research Building for the University of Arizona in Tucson. Principals James Richard, Kelly Bauer, and Stephen Kennedy’s building features a concrete wall that is covered with red-bronze copper treatment to relate in tone to bricks used on the campus. To give the feeling of a darkroom, openings allow light into the building, and the light plays off the rooms within. For their work on this important building, richard + bauer Architecture were also awarded the 2007 American Institute of Architects Honor Award.

There still occasionally come on the Phoenix market vintage homes designed by Ralph Haver. Haver was a prominent Phoenix architect in the 1950s who made his mark in contemporary-styled single-family homes. His designs often feature window walls, clerestories, beam ceilings, carports rather than garages and a low pitch to the front facing gable roof style.

Probably the most famous architect in American history has his foundation in Scottsdale, and that is Frank Lloyd Wright. Known for organic architecture that allows the building to fit into the context that the land itself provides, Taliesin West in Scottsdale is where Wright had his home, his studio, and was the site of his architectural school. Archives of Wright’s work are housed at the Foundation as well.

Choosing Right Home Furniture

A house without furniture often sounds like a flower without fragrance. Furniture takes away the emptiness of a home, and makes it attractive and functional. For those reasons, it’s important to choose the right furniture items that function, add to the appeal, reflect your taste, and provide a great value for the price. It turns out not too many shoppers exhibit satisfaction when they are exploring choices for quality home furniture. One of the major reasons for this dissatisfaction is the lack of priorities that a shopper must set to determine what exactly to look for. Also is there a group of buyers who finds it a nerve-wracking task to select right furniture for their homes out of the multiple choices being offered by internet today.

If you have happened to be facing any of the afore-identified situations, you should seek some guidelines for a better understanding of finding and buying good-value furniture and accessories. Below is brief list of points-to-note to be kept in mind and considered before going on a shopping spree:

Room and requirements: Every house comprises different rooms; the main being living room, drawing room, dining room, guest room, and TV lounge. Each room requires different furniture items for its distinctive classification. For instance, a dining room requires to be filled with a dining table set instead of sofa set whereas a bed room needs to be graced with a dressing-table set instead of a utensil storage cabinet. It is important to determine what room requires what kind of furniture.

Similarly, if you intend to buy a sofa or a cabinet, create an appropriate place for it in your home. A sofa fits well in a living room or a drawing room whereas cabinet should find its way to a bedroom or kitchen depending upon its use.

Furniture replacements: If you decide to redecorate your old home by replacing its furniture with a new line, do it systematically. Choose the living room to begin with, for being the most occupied place of your home. This is where your family members or friends sit, relax, chat and enjoy. Make sure you find and buy living room furniture items in colors and designs that match with the colors of walls and/or floor of your room or house. Once done with your living room, go with the redecoration of a guest room, drawing room, dining room, so on and so forth.

Furniture size: Consider room space before settling on any furniture item. If your room is too large, choose mirrored furniture which will make your room look small.

Wholesale living room furniture: Go for online stores of wholesale furniture where you’ll have more chances to get your favorite furniture pieces at the most competitive prices and get discount deals on your purchases.

A common misconception attributed to cheap furniture is that it is neither durable nor reliable. If truth be written, cheap furniture is the line of furniture that is offered at a cheap price. Quality remains the same though. Hope, you are pretty sure how to choose and buy right furniture for your home now!

Why Travel Solo – My Reasons For Travelling Solo

Many of you reading this article are thinking to yourselves ‘why travel solo… are you crazy’, while others are reading this in total agreement. Like for all travel needs, individual tastes, interests and goals will be the concern for any person traveling.

For me personally I prefer to travel solo myself but It all boils down to the type of trip you’re taking and what you plan on doing… obviously there are times where group or couple travel is inescapable and is of course still going to be a great experience… all travel is. These times could be team getaways, events such as weddings or corporate and clearly for a romantic getaway or honeymoon where I’ll assume that you would prefer not to travel solo.

Maybe you don’t have a partner or perhaps you didn’t know anyone else you wanted to travel with you… but you know with all your heart you want to go, have to go. Are the people who said no going to stop your travel? If so, why? Is it safety concerns, is It the unknown? Those questions might be on your mind, but think about it this way… doesn’t it make it more exciting? Wouldn’t you feel more accomplished if you did it by yourself?

Let me explain why I travel solo and the reasons why.

Avoid The Drama Of Others

Drama is often inescapable as all people including myself has some sort of drama in their lives. However in my experience below

A few years back I backpacked Europe and after about a week or so met up with a group of friends for roughly a month. In this time the couple traveling with us had a bad break up, which in turn almost severed another relationship. That night while this couple was fighting, bags were snatched, wallets stolen and because of the public outburst questioned by the police… and this was just the beginning of the drama, we still Christmas to get through after this. When the whole group of my friends had left I felt relief and like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

You may not want to travel solo but if you’re single then my recommendation is that you at least don’t travel with a couple, not without at least some other single people there.

Indifference Of Ideas

All travelers have their own ideas of what they want out of their travel and so they should. Compromise can be much easier in a couple and certainly traveling solo but in a group it can be a nightmare. You may want to go to a museum you’ve always wanted to see where as the others in your group want to just hit the pub.

Whoever has the numbers or the dominance will most likely win which puts you in an awkward situation. Yes, you could leave and go the museum by yourself but then what do you friends think of you and say about you later on. You may also not be contactable by phone, being in another country without a sim card which makes it much harder to meet up and find out when others will be back etc.

I remember road trip we took just 2 hours away from home with six guys and we had one of the worst weekends away possible. Some of us wanted to go prawning, others wanted to go somewhere else for fishing and some of us just wanted to hang out at the hotel by the beach and drink. The problem was we were all stubborn and because we only had the one car and two sets of keys it caused arguments left, right and centre.

Living In Close Quarters

When traveling with others, particularly for long periods of time you need to ensure that your travel buddy is someone you could live with in close quarters for however long it is you are traveling. We all have friends that we know that are good friends but you could never live with them, maybe they are messy, maybe they are snappy and the list goes on. If you can’t live with them… what makes you think you can travel with them?

Be Who You Want

A bonus to traveling solo as well is that others you meet along the way and you get to be the person you’ve always wanted to be or at least be able to interact differently with others. I truly believe you meet a lot more people when traveling solo as you have more reason to talk to others and you will meet more like-minded people to you as there are no indifference to ideas of what to do.

These are four of the main reasons why I travel solo but there are many more personal reasons like independence my goal when backpacking Europe was to get out there in the world and do it all myself. Escapism is another big reason for me sometimes with work and the same old routine you just need to escape the daily grind and get in some alone time.

Traveling solo isn’t for everyone and isn’t for all kinds of travel but if you’re after a fulfilling holiday and experiences then there really is nothing like traveling solo. You will not only meet more like-minded people, get to be who you want, gain independence and a sense of fulfillment as well avoid an indifference of ideas, living in close quarters and avoid anyone else drama while you enjoy what you want to do on your dream holiday. This is why I travel solo.

School Bus Safety Tips For Drivers and Their Children

Imagine: millions of students nationwide start their day by getting on and off the school bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that year after year, pedestrians who are usually below the age of 19 have died in school bus-related crashes. More school-age pedestrians have been killed between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. than any other time of day. The NHTSA has even formulated several safety tips for both drivers and children:

Take note of the crosswalk/school zone sign.

 

  • Drivers: This means that during mornings and afternoons, these areas are likely to be crowded with children — some even on their bicycles or in-line skates. All of them are no match to a bus, so extra care in part of the driver is needed.
  • Children: Do what you learned in pre-school: look left, then right to see if vehicles or people are going to pass before crossing the street. If you could, go along with other children/people using the crosswalk.

Learn the “Flashing Signal Light System”that school buses use.

  • Drivers: Alert motorists if you are preparing to/stopping the school bus using the yellow/red light.
  • Children:Just because they are in a stop position does not mean there is no more danger. Take note of the danger zones around a stopped school bus, namely, the front and back (which are the most dangerous zones) and the driver’s side of the bus.

Slow down.

  • Drivers: Be alert around school zones. Young people may be rushing about on their way to class or to meet a parent.
  • Children: No need to rush when getting on or off. Wait until the bus hits a full stop, with the doors wide open before getting in. Use the handrails to avoid falls.

Visibility.

  • Drivers: For a vehicle such as a school bus, you really can’t see what’s directly below you. Be careful before speeding on.
  • Children: When crossing in front of a bus, put a safe distance (say, 10 feet) between the bus and where you plan to cross. Use sidewalks and walkways where you’re sure the driver sees you.

Backing up.

  • Drivers: Be aware if children/bicycles are crossing behind you.
  • Children: Never be the children/children-in-bicycles who cross behind buses.

To enforce traffic safety, the state of Florida has enforced tougher penalties for passing a stopped school bus while loading or unloading children. Previously the fine was $65.00, however now they are required to attend a 4-hour basic driver improvement course. This course explains Florida traffic laws and provides a refresher on defensive driving techniques.

So, for all drivers before you rush to pass a stopped school bus remember that the school bus uses the red flashing lights for a reason. And for pedestrians and children always but safety first and proceed with caution when exiting or entering the bus or in school zones.

Tips When Buying Home Furniture

When buying for home furniture, there are a lot of tips that you need to be aware of in order to get the best out of the quality and from the price. There are numerous stores that sell furniture for the home and you may get confused on which place is the best for you. It is never recommended to buy the first furniture that you like. Always look for more items and selections first so that you can make sure that what you are buying is the best in the market.

The bedroom is one place in your home that you may want to redecorate. When choosing home bedroom furniture the best tip to follow is finding the best and the most comfortable. The bedroom is your private sanctuary and it is very important that your bedroom furniture is comfortable. For instance, when you are buying a bed for your room, choose the one that you find at ease with. Do not be afraid to test out the bed, its foam and how it feels once you lay on it. Also do not forget to measure the size of the bed that it can fit perfectly in your room. For the home bathroom furniture, choose the ones that can fit into the space of your bathroom. Keep it elegant and simple.

For the furniture in your home, the trick is finding the perfect design and color that can match your place. One home furniture store can carry countless furniture that have different color, designs and materials to suit your home. Some of them may have offers of making made to order furniture if you cannot find the design and the color that you want. These made to order furniture may cost more than the regular ones in the store, but if you have the budget and you are willing to wait, this could ensure that you will get the furniture that you want. When shopping for home furniture, it is important that you are getting items that are of good quality. You may want your furniture to last for years. Paying for cheap but low quality furniture will only cost you more in the long run because you will need to repair or buy new furniture from time to time.

When choosing the sofas or armchair of your living room, the rule is like that of the bedroom, choose the sofa or armchair that can give you comfort. Your guests or family will be sitting in these sofas when you get together or watch television, a comfortable sofa means a lot. Also make sure that the sofa can match your room color. It does not have to be the same color, but something that can compliment your home. There is also other home décor furniture that you may want to add like coffee tables, side tables or a small chair or tea table. These are good furniture to add to your room if you have enough space. Overcrowding a room with furniture is never a good idea. It will only make your home look smaller and disorganized.

Travel Pre And Post Internet

Travel Pre Internet:

I’ve been traveling for over 40 years – by thumb in my early days, by boots in the Scouts, a Lambretta came next and then my first old banger followed by newer old bangers to the beaches of the Costa Brava.

My thumb, boots, bikes and bangers took me all over Europe and the UK before finding that a charter flight to Spain on an old ‘Connie’ could get me to the beaches and bars a lot quicker and allow more time to enjoy the local travel opportunities by horse and cart and the occasional bus and train.

‘Go West and Prosper’ seemed to be a good idea so instead of taking an 8 hour flight I took an 8 day transatlantic crossing from Tilbury to Montreal on the Stephan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines ensuring that jet lag did not trouble my travel plans. Some years later I crossed the pond again on a ship but this time it was 5 times bigger and I traveled in style on the QE2 and dined in the Queen’s Grill somewhat removed from my earlier experience. I highly recommend ocean voyages but cannot see myself on one of the modern cruise ships going from port to port with constant line-ups to get on and off to buy t-shirts. However, I have done 10 Windjammers and a Star Clipper cruise in the Caribbean which were all memorable (let’s hope Windjammer Barefoot Cruises recover from their woes). But I digress.

I had read that Canada is a spectacular country, from sea to shining sea, and my entrance into the St. Lawrence River to Montreal and then heading west in an old Econoline van from the Great Lakes, across the Prairies to the Rocky Mountains before ending up whale watching off of the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island was a trip of wonder to a bloke from London. Today the scenery is still spectacular and the best way to go is still by road so rent or buy a car, motorhome or motorbike, take the train or tour bus but remember the maps, a fly rod, good boots and take your time.

My favorite part of Canada / USA for adventure travel has to be Northern BC / Alaska, to hike the Chilkoot Trail in the steps of the goldseekers of 1898. The Northwest Territories to canoe the Nahannie River and the Yukon to drive from Dawson City to Chicken, Alaska. If you like the outdoors and can put up with a few bugs, cast a fly and scale a few hills or drive on endless dirt roads sharing the space with moose, caribou, elk, bears and eagles, then these are the places to put on your list. The pleasures and experiences in driving to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway or to Prudhoe Bay on the Dalton Highway or even the Canol Road can only be felt by doing them. I would have mentioned the Alaska Highway but now it is an easy drive unlike the aforementioned.

Today the costs of driving these distances may mean that sharing the journey with others is required, but RVing or simply vanning and camping is a great way to see beyond the horizon. Some enroute adventures now need to be booked in advance whereas when I hiked Denali and the Chilkoot Pass it was just a case of turning up, registering with the local ranger office and heading on out. A little more forward planning is needed for today’s traveller and cost considerations of lengthy flights or drives have to somehow be countered with more careful planning. In the days of reasonable gas prices I would not even consider the driving or flying costs and have driven to Key West from the northwest coast, down the west coast to the Baja and to the west coast from New York. I once even flew my 1946 Fleet taildragger from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back using around 5 gallons an hour of avgas. Before the oil and credit crisis I drove from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, down to Tierra del Fuego and back to Rio covering over 15,000 miles of spectacular scenery and with no consideration about the cost of gas. South America should be on your itinerary too! Some other memorable drives that may now require a mortgage with the gas companies include London to The Nordkapp, Norway, Skippers Canyon in New Zealand and the loneliness of the far north of Australia and the amazing coast of Western Australia stopping by at Monkey Mia and Wave Rock.

We tend to forget that the real cost of traveling is often less today than over the 40 years of my travels. In 1977 my round-trip airfare from Canada to Australia cost over $1700 in 1977 dollars so today it is far cheaper to fly, even with the airlines gouging for fuel, extra baggage, no service and no pleasure. The ‘Big Mac’ method of price comparison as developed by The Economist newspaper gives us a good gauge for most expenditures of today compared to yesterday but my $1500 cost to get a private pilots license in the 1970’s seems cheap by comparison to today, but obviously not when using this Big Mac principle. Other travel costs are also far cheaper today but this should not mean that travelers should disregard the many methods of saving costs that can then be put to extended or improved travel experiences

Travel Post-Internet:

In my 40 years of travel I have had to use travel agents to make even the simplest of reservations and buy tickets, not even thinking to ask them if they had “been there, done that?” It was just a case of there being no other options to buying travel. Now we have unlimited choices and can seek out better travel agents, better prices, better selections and information about anywhere in the world for our travels – without even leaving home.

The Internet now gives travelers ideas and options of Where to go, When to go, Why to go, What to do, Who to book with and How to save money and offset costs. We can search and find experts for every travel option. If we are comfortable with the Internet we no longer have to go to a travel agent to make reservations and buy tickets except to book with some of the larger travel companies that still produce glossy brochures and offer all inclusive packages or tours that only sell through the agency system. The Internet also allows those of us who are smart enough to know when to seek out a top travel agent with knowledge, experience and expertise (KEE skills) of destinations and activities about where to find them. There is no longer any need to only use our local agents when we can find one somewhere else in the world. When we do not need ‘the knowledge’ and can do it ourselves we simply surf the web so that we can book directly with tour and travel operators wherever we have decided to go.

Some travel agents operate their own tours, some are both wholesale and retail, some limit consumer selection by only selling their ‘preferred’ suppliers and some have professional consultants with years of experience invested in gaining knowledge, experience and expertise and are worth their weight in gold to the savvy traveler. Beware though, as some are also called destination specialists and some of these designations merely require the agent to take a rudimentary test offered by tourism offices, destination marketing groups or even tour operators and in my opinion can harm the reputation of the travel industry. A specialist is not necessarily an expert.

Travel is probably the most used commercial aspect of the Internet and if retail agents want to harness this exciting medium to offer ‘the knowledge’ and their ‘kee’ skills to a global audience, not just their local community, they must embrace the changes that are happening. Travelers now have the ability to seek answers to the 5 W’s of travel and the important ‘How to’ save money and offset costs by having information just a click away.

And then it occurred to me that even internet travel prices often include a commission element even when sold directly to the consumer. If we book directly with operators we should not have to pay full retail prices as we are doing for ourselves what a retail agent would normally do for us. A dilemma for the operator is that to show a both a retail and a cost price option could deter many agents from selling the services as travelers could use an agent for free advice and book directly with the operator to get a ‘net of commission’ price. Obviously this two tier pricing is not often available but travelers who do not need advice should also not be penalized by retail pricing. A new way had to be found and I think I have found it!

The need for fairer fare prices is why I developed the Top Travel Voucher program at The Top Travel Club and I even found a dot com for it. All travel selections on the site are at ‘net of commission’ prices for members who handle there own travel arrangements directly with the operators linked on the club website using our voucher program.

I am inviting travel operators from around the world to join this program, from B&B’s, Motels, Hotels, Luxury Lodges, Eco Resorts, Beach Resorts and Tour and Adventure Operators who want to promote their products and services to travelers who are comfortable with direct bookings and reservations.

I am also inviting Travel Agents with knowledge, experience and expertise of destinations and activities to showcase their skills to a global audience of travelers and to the members of this new travel club. I am leery of ‘specialist agents’ and only want experts to showcase their services.

This opportunity is available to the travel trade at no cost except for them to offer net, wholesale or outlet prices to club members and visitors to the website using top travel vouchers. I believe this program offers fairer fare prices to direct-booking travelers. The operator would normally be paying commission anyway but now travelers get the savings because they make their own arrangements.

The Top Travel Club opened in mid-April 2008 offering thousands of top travel vouchers for travel in over 70 countries with around 150 travel operators on-board. Every week we add more travel operators with more choices for members. Currently you can get savings on accommodations, adventure travel, boat charters, culinary tours, hike, bike and dive tours, auto and RV rentals fishing lodges and guides, safaris, vacation rentals, single travel, women only and dude ranches. Members get the vouchers free of charge by paying an annual membership fee and non-members can buy the vouchers on the internet at Top Travel Sites at deeply discounted prices to the face-value. The future growth will include restaurants, travel clothing, travel insurance and the opportunity to access air ticket consolidators who want to deal directly with consumers.

The way I have traveled and the way I see travel is that consumers should have unlimited access to every travel opportunity with the ability to do their own due diligence or to find a professional who can offer quality advice and services at fair prices, and to find all of this without needing endless hours of searching.

To find out more about the new way of cost offsets for travel please go to The Top Travel Club and my apologies for some of the spelling (traveler / traveler) but that is what I was taught. As long as we all understand the meaning, vive le difference!