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Grenfell fallout: The 10 questions that need answers

Grenfell fallout The Grenfell fire has vindicated many in the fire industry s worst fears about several longstanding problems. Not only that, a drip-drip of revelations is revealing a litany of other shortcomings of the council, firefighting equipment and the government s response, among others that have shocked even fire industry insiders. Here are 10 of the most pressing questions that need satisfactory answers if councils, the government, the construction industry and the fire sector can together prevent similar tragedies happening again.

1. Why is the testing of cladding limited to one type of cladding when several other varieties could be combustible too? More than 200 cladding samples taken from high-rise tower blocks in 54 local authorities since the Grenfell tragedy have failed tests, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

However, testing has been limited to aluminium composite material panels those implicated in the Grenfell fire despite the fact that other varieties of cladding may be similarly combustible. Non-ACM cladding systems CEP and Carea are not made of aluminium, but have a near identical construction to the Reynobond ACM panels used on Grenfell Tower. Niall Rowan, COO of the Association for Specialist Fire Protection, told The Independent: If you put this cladding through government testing, it would fail, I would put money on it. They are different materials to the Reynobond but they would all have a similar reaction to fire under the fire test. The government s testing scheme has used a combustibility grade of A2 or higher, requiring that material must at most be of limited combustibility . And yet, noted Rowan, Approved Document B does not require cladding meet this standard. Instead, a lower threshold is set out: class 0 (Euroclass B). These products are all Euroclass B (also known as Class 0), they are not looking to be limited combustibility, and you re going to find them all over the place, on lots of buildings, said Rowan. The Government s gone chasing after cladding and missing the bigger picture they are saying: We want limited combustibility, but the construction industry has been reading building regulations as Euroclass B for years.

This is why we have been pushing for a review of the building regulations for years and why many in the fire sector are very 2. Why was there an apparent deficiency in firefighting equipment? While initial analysis in the wake of the fire focused on cladding, firefighting equipment has come under the spotlight in recent days. A BBC Newsnight investigation uncovered multiple deficiencies, including that a high ladder did not arrive for more than 30 minutes. Also known as an aerial , the ladder would have given firegighters a better chance of extinguishing the blaze had it arrived earlier, a fire expert told the BBC. Low water pressure was also said to hamper efforts to quell the flames, while firefighters reported radio problems. Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: I have spoken to aerial appliance operators in London who attended that incident, who think that having that on the first attendance might have made a difference, because it allows you to operate a very powerful water tower from outside the building onto the building. Are cuts to the fire service to blame for the deficiencies in firefighting equipment? Or was it organisational and procedural?

Perhaps the UK s comparatively and deceptively strong fire safety record had simply bred complacency in making sure enough equipment is available. Find out more on the BBC.

3. Is the privatisation of fire-safety research a problem? Stephen Mackenzie, a fire risk consultant who has spoken out on the Grenfell fire regularly in the media, appears to think so. We ve increasingly seen over the past decades, our fire research provision within the UK, which is internationally renowned, becoming increasingly privatised, he told IFSEC Global during a recent interview. Whether it s a research establishment which is now a charitable trust, whether it s a fire service college which is now under the major government support contracts, or the emergency planning college which is under another support service provider 4. Should COBRA have been convened in the wake of the fire as it is following terror attacks? Mackenzie also believes the UK s worst-ever tower block fire warranted the most serious government response. I think we ve seen a comparison between the Grenfell fire and Finsbury Park terrorist attack, he notes.

Immediately following the Finsbury Park attack, Theresa May convened COBRA. That should have been the case on Thursday the day after the fire, or the latter hours of Wednesday. Convene COBRA, get emergency personnel leads in, coordinate with local authority responders, and have a better response and management of media, and to the families and residents concerns. I feel it could have been sharper, more effective, and then the central government may not have received some of the criticism it has. He adds that there are a number of professional bodies in the UK that can facilitate the transition from the emergency services response into the softer response by local authorities and the government. So it might be another line of enquiry for the coroner report, and also the public inquiry.

5. Why do inquiries take so long in England compared to Scotland? The 2009 fire in Lakanal House, southeast London, that caused the deaths of six people has been oft-cited since the Grenfell fire. The inquiry that followed took four years, much to the anguish of grieving relatives. But even if the lengthy process was justified on the grounds of thoroughness and that is debatable the inaction on so many of its recommendations undermined the whole exercise anyway. The swift conclusion to an inquiry into Scotland s very own tower block tragedy the 1999 fire at Charnock Court certainly shows that such inquiries need not drag on interminably.

That Holyrood seemingly took more decisive action than their English counterparts certainly buttresses this point. Stephen Mackenzie points to the conclusions of the 2000 report into Charnock Court inquiry. While this inquiry did not suggest that the majority of external cladding systems in the UK currently in use pose a serious threat to life safety or property in event of fire, they did go on to add, we do not believe it should take a serious fire in which many people are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the fire risk. They then go on to make commentary about the inclusion of standards through the British Standards Institute, revision of the Approved Document B, and the title of that report under the reference was The Potential Risk of Fire Spread in Buildings via External Cladding Systems. We have known about this problem and issue in the fire sector, the House of Commons are aware of it. the Prime Minister s office is now aware of it, I imagine, through the national press and their own technical advisors. Holyrood, it seems, took swift action. Let s look at legislation. We did it in Scotland.

When we reviewed our fire safety legislation we also brought in new building regulations, we brought in new technical handbooks. And I believe, if memory services me correct, the most recent release was either in June 2016 or June 2017. By contrast, Approved Document B the guidance framework for construction regulations in England has not been updated since 2006. I am aware that the building regulations are under constant review. But there seems to be a dichotomy in the turnaround time: four years for the Lakanal report, one year for the Scottish Garnock report. Fire legislation report in Scotland was reviewed in 2005 whereas we appear to be limping on with a very outdated and outmoded document.

6. Are green targets, red tape reduction or austerity to blame? Inevitably, the media s focus has varied depending on the political leanings of the publication in question. While the Daily Mail predictably highlighted the prioritisation of green targets as a potential factor, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn even more predictably blamed austerity. Back in 2015, when the FSF called for a review of Approved Document B, then Conservative MP for Canterbury and Whitstable Julian Brazier said: My concern is that, at a time when building regulations are more prescriptive than ever on issues like energy saving, the basic requirement to make the building resilient to fire appears to have been lost sight of. The fact that Grenfell had just undergone 10m worth of refurbishment to enhance the energy efficiency of the building lends credence to these fears.

A leftwing poet, however, asserted that they put panels, pretty panels on the outside so the rich people who lived opposite wouldn t have to look at a horrendous block. Whether you agree with this sentiment, that the fire alarms still didn t function properly following a 10m refurbishment is nothing short of scandalous. Another strand picked up in the Guardian was the Conservative Party s (and to some extent New Labour s) long-held policy of reducing red tape. George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian that: In 2014, the then housing minister (who is now the immigration minister), Brandon Lewis, rejected calls to force construction companies to fit sprinklers in the homes they built on the following grounds: In our commitment to be the first Government to reduce regulation, we have introduced the one in, two out rule for regulation Under that rule, when the Government introduce a regulation, we will identify two existing ones to be removed In other words, though he accepted that sprinklers are an effective way of controlling fires and of protecting lives and property , to oblige builders to introduce them would conflict with the government s deregulatory agenda. Instead, it would be left to the owners of buildings to decide how best to address the fire risk: Those with responsibility for ensuring fire safety in their businesses, in their homes or as landlords, should and must make informed decisions on how best to manage the risks in their own properties, Lewis said. This calls to mind the Financial Times journalist Willem Buiter s famous remark that self-regulation stands in relation to regulation the way self-importance stands in relation to importance . Case after case, across all sectors, demonstrates that self-regulation is no substitute for consistent rules laid down, monitored and enforced by government. Crucial public protections have long been derided in the billionaire press as elf n safety gone mad . It s not hard to see how ruthless businesses can cut costs by cutting corners, and how this gives them an advantage over their more scrupulous competitors.

7. Why were the lessons from Lakanal ignored? Emily Twinch, a housing policy journalist, recently wrote in the New Statesman: I remember sitting through the Lakanal House super inquest, as it was called, four years ago.

It was amazing how many mistakes by so many people were made. It reminded me of the film Sliding Doors. If only someone had done this, or not done that. Senior managers at Southwark Council were warned by staff that Lakanal House needed a fire risk assessment they were ignored. People carrying out fire risk assessments were given little or no training, and then expected to go out and decide if a tower block was fire safe or not Cladding is being bought up again As Ian Wingfield, ward councillor and cabinet member for housing of Southwark Council at the time said: If nothing was done about it in the intervening 10 years it might have moved from medium to high risk in that period. The inquest into that fire found that panels fitted to the outside of the block in 2006-07 burnt quicker than the original materials Another issue experts are likely to look at when investigating here is the fire compartmentalisation of the building. Regulations say buildings should be designed so that if a fire does break out, it doesn t spread to other flats for at least an hour. After the Lakanal House fire, I did a big freedom of information request investigation into what attention fire brigades and councils were placing on fire safety of tower blocks. The results revealed the answer very little.

It gradually improved in the intervening years But when MPs refused to support, for example, an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill last year that would have made homes fit for habitation in the private sector, it was an indication of how little they prioritised tenants, whether private or social, in their homes.

8. Why was the advice to stay put given for the first two hours of the fire? Advice given by the fire service to stay put inside Grenfell Tower as the fire spread was only changed after nearly two hours, the BBC has reported. The policy was only changed at 2:47am, one hour and 53 minutes after the first emergency call. Based on the ill-founded assumption that the fire can be contained as it should be if suitable passive fire protection is in place the advice was fatal to any that followed it once the fire spread rapidly from the room of origin. With the death toll now still uncertain but estimated by police to stay at around 80, the policy has come under serious fire.

9. Why have calls to retrofit 4,000 tower blocks across the country gone unheeded? Coroners, fire safety professionals and organisations and fire and rescue services have repeatedly urged the government to legislate for the mandatory installation of sprinklers in social housing over many years. In February 2013, in his judgement on a 2010 blaze at a 15-storey block in Southampton, coroner Keith Wiseman recommended that sprinklers be fitted to all buildings higher than 30 metres (98 ft). In that fire, at Shirley Towers, firefighters Alan Bannon and James Shears lost their lives. In a letter to Eric Pickles, then communities and local government secretary, and to Sir Ken Knight, then the government s chief fire and rescue adviser, Wiseman said that obvious precautions to prevent the fire occurring were not taken and highlighted the need for sprinklers in high-rise blocks.

The following month, Lakanal coroner Judge Frances Kirkham submitted similar recommendation to Pickles. In a previous report into the Lakanal House fire, Ken Knight had said that the retrofitting of sprinklers in high-rise blocks was not considered practical or economically viable . However, the evidence she heard at the inquest had prompted Kirkham to say that doing so might now be possible at lower cost than had previously been thought to be the case, and with modest disruption to residents . This is apparently backed up by a successful retrofit at a Sheffield Tower block in 2012. A report on the installation demonstrated that it is possible to retrofit sprinklers into occupied, high-rise, social housing without evacuating residents and that these installations can be fast-tracked.

10. Why must it take mass casualties to trigger serious change? It is a fact of human nature that we do not intuit and respond emotionally to risk in an entirely rational way. So it is that 30% of us are, to some extent, nervous about flying, yet few of us worry about hurtling down the motorway at 80mph despite the fact that you are vastly more likely to die in the latter scenario. There was no shortage of plane crashes before 9/11, yet none of those crashes had been seared into people s nightmares.

The numbers of people avoiding flying duly soared in the wake of the disaster. This was despite the fact that security was tightened following 9/11, reducing the risk of further attacks. In his 2008 book Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear, Dan Garder reflected that the thousands of people who eschewed flights in favour of driving in the wake of 9/11 actually increased their risk of dying. By one estimate, it killed 1,500 people, he wrote. On their death certificates, it says they were killed by car crashes. But, really, the ultimate cause of death was misperceived risk. Fire disasters of the magnitude of Grenfell are mercifully rare. It had been eight years since Lakanal and few remembered it. People were still dying in fires but it rarely made the front pages.

Instead, the media was devoting much of its time to the spate of terror attacks and before that, the countless terror attacks that were foiled. Politicians, believe it or not, suffer from the same askew intuition over risk as ordinary people. Faced with an inbox full of warnings about myriad threats, the Prime Minister inevitably prioritised those that seemed most immediate, most viscerally terrifying and which the media and general public seemed most concerned about. Fuelled by the decades-long trend of falling fire deaths, fire safety had fallen down the list of priorities. That is certainly no longer the case. Undoubtedly, so horrific was the Grenfell fire that something will undoubtedly now be done. Whether enough is done, or whether the right things are done, is another matter. But why must it take a tragedy of such proportions before the problems which were flagged time and again by fire organisations are taken seriously? The risk was always there.

While such fires are rare events, any sober analysis would have revealed that Lakanal could readily happen again and that casualties could be far, far worse.

And yet it is only when the industry s worst fears are realised that the momentum for change can truly build.

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Despite Java weekend update, serious security issues remain – Sytech

Late last week, the US government issued a security bulletin that recommended PC users disable Oracle s Java on their systems1, due to an recently discovered exploit that hackers have already been using to launch cyber attacks against Java-running PCs. This weekend, Oracle released a new security update for Java2.

Even with this new update, some security experts still believe Java has a number of exploits that could be found by hackers. Reuters reports3 that HD Moore, the chief security officer for Rapid7, claims that it could take up to two years for Oracle to fix all of the security issues that have been found in Java.

In their blog post about the new Java update, Oracle points out that users can go into the Java Control Panel and adjust the level of security when they run unsigned Java apps inside a web browser. The default setting has been changed from Medium to High.

However, Moore thinks that at this point, the only PC users that need to run Java are those who have to use it for business.

He added, The safest thing to do at this point is just assume that Java is always going to be vulnerable.

Folks don t really need Java on their desktop. 4

Security firm Kaspersky claims that Java was involved in 50 percent of all PC cyber attacks in 2012. So far, Oracle has yet to comment on the US government s warning on using Java on PCs.

Despite Java weekend update, security issues remain5.

References

  1. ^ PC users disable Oracle s Java on their systems (www.neowin.net)
  2. ^ released a new security update for Java (www.neowin.net)
  3. ^ Reuters reports (www.reuters.com)
  4. ^ blog post about the new Java update (blogs.oracle.com)
  5. ^ Despite Java weekend update, security issues remain (www.neowin.net)

star gate satellite surveillance hidden from the public

WAKE UP AMERICA: ASK YOURSELF HOW CAN THE US INTEL/DOD NOT KNOW

STAR GATE was one of a number of remote viewing programs conducted under a variety of code names, including SUN STREAK1, GRILL FRAME, and CENTER LANE by DIA2 and INSCOM3, and SCANATE by CIA4. These efforts were initiated to assess foreign programs in the field; contract for basic research into the the phenomenon; and to evaluate controlled remote viewing as an intelligence tool.

The program consisted of two separate activities. An operational unit employed remote viewers to train and perform remote viewing intelligence-gathering.

The research program was maintained separately from the operational unit.

This effort was initiated in response to CIA concerns about reported Soviets investigations of psychic phenomena. Between 1969 and 1971, US intelligence sources concluded that the Soviet Union5 was engaged in psychotronic research. By 1970, it was suggested that the Soviets were spending approximately 60 million rubles per year on it, and over 300 million by 1975.

The money and personnel devoted to Soviet psychotronics suggested that they had achieved breakthroughs, even though the matter was considered speculative, controversial and fringy.

http://www.stargateunofficial.com/SGU_ppindex.asp6

By Intelligence7 CIA NSA8 Agencies used on Citizens in America and around the globe for Satellite Research that they don t want the public to know about because you will know that they knew and do know about 911 and all of the other crimes committed in the world. Instead, they use it to slow kill people like the following http://unduecoercion.blogspot.com/2012/12/occams-razor.html9.

The below is a victim of horrific Satellite Scalar DOD Weapons Experimentation & Nanotechnological Testings (Note he thinks (in the bottom video Paint was put in his ? ear), BioAPI, Biotech, Neuroscience (NASA/DOD/MEDICAL/SCIENCE) yet he knew it was coming from Satellites.

He walks away from the camera and obviously picks up a gun prior ending his life in the head months ago. This is Satellite TORTURE. What did he do wrong?

Nothing no one deserves this.

Where are our government officials?

How do they allow this?

TIs kill themselves because they can t take the torture as not one government official will stop this horrific crimes-against-all of humanity.

Their intel agents using cops and locals as well as military members use State-Sponsored Terrorism10 upon us to discredit us from all comunities around the US and globe using Cointelpro and Air and Ground Stalking TIs deaths occurr from Cancer and other Neurological disease all the time.

What the US Intel & Military & Nasa are doing to we the people

A woman being slow-murdered by satellite laser electron microwaves and her dog (yes) they murder and torture our animals.

About these ads11

References

  1. ^ Stargate Project (en.wikipedia.org)
  2. ^ Defense Intelligence Agency (maps.google.com)
  3. ^ United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (www.inscom.army.mil)
  4. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (maps.google.com)
  5. ^ Perestroika and Glasnost (www.history.com)
  6. ^ http://www.stargateunofficial.com/SGU_ppindex.asp (www.stargateunofficial.com)
  7. ^ Intelligence assessment (en.wikipedia.org)
  8. ^ National Security Agency (maps.google.com)
  9. ^ http://unduecoercion.blogspot.com/2012/12/occams-razor.html (unduecoercion.blogspot.com)
  10. ^ State-sponsored terrorism (en.wikipedia.org)
  11. ^ About these ads (en.wordpress.com)

NIST Updates, Expands Glossary of Security Terms | Systems – Sytech

nist 6 NIST Updates, Expands Glossary of Security TermsThe National Institute of Standards and Technology is updating its Glossary of Key Information Security terms, and has released a draft of the latest revision1 of Interagency Report 7298.

The glossary contains more than 200 pages of definitions, from Access (the ability to make use of any information system resource) to Zone of Control (the three-dimensional space surrounding equipment that processes classified and/or sensitive information).

It defines the responsibilities of the chief information officer and describes the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) as well as its specifications and languages.

NIST Updates, Expands Glossary of Security Terms | DFI News2.

References

  1. ^ draft of the latest revision (csrc.nist.gov)
  2. ^ NIST Updates, Expands Glossary of Security Terms | DFI News (www.dfinews.com)

A Rant Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Make Better Private …

Post image for A Rant Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Make Better Private Investigators?

A few weeks ago on TechAndScience.com, I came across an article titled What s the Difference Between a PI and a Cop?1 (As an aside, I still haven t figured out what the topic has to do with either technology or science.)

As the title indicates, the primary focus of the piece is to describe the differences between a private investigator (PI) and a police officer. To be honest, I am not sure that anyone ever confuses the two. But perhaps people do confuse the two more than I imagine.

The article also spends some time discussing the benefits of having had a career in law enforcement before becoming a private investigator.

Fair enough. It s hard to refute that previous law enforcement experience can be helpful to a PI, although it s not a requirement in any jurisdiction, and in some cases it can be a hindrance (more on that later).

Anyone who is curious can easily determine, upon closer inspection, that the firm behind the website that published the article has posted a video2 that suggests that because they are former FBI agents, they have the education, expertise and experience to take public database information and develop it into an in-depth background investigation more effectively than other private investigators. Really?

This assertion really struck a negative chord with me, and I am certain that I am not the only one who feels this way.

I get it. You ve got to sell what you have, but the fact that you carried a badge and a gun does not make you more effective or qualified or necessarily afford you superior training and skills to handle matters in the private sector.

Period.

In my short career, I ve seen my share of both good and bad investigators, with and without law enforcement experience. You can ask any other private investigator and they will tell you the same thing.

The article details several reasons why it is beneficial to have a career in law enforcement before becoming a PI, including the following:

Friends and connections in the local law enforcement agency

There is vast illegal/unethical line here. Just ask Anthony Pellicano, a former private investigator, who is sitting in jail, in part, for having rogue police officers search databases for personal information3.

Or former police officer Chris Butler, who hired attractive women to lure husbands into cheating and then used his buddies in law enforcement to set up the husbands with drinking and driving4 charges (he s in jail too).

Frankly, I can t think of one investigative situation I have experienced in my career in which a connection to a local law enforcement agency would have helped me out. I am not diminishing the importance of what local or federal law enforcement personnel do, or the information they have access to, but in the cases I have been involved with, that connection has never been necessary.

The fact of the matter is that even if local law enforcement officers did give me non-public information, it would be inadmissible in any court proceeding, and even a whiff of any unscrupulous behavior on a PI s part might undermine a client s best interest.

Knowledge of good detective techniques and investigation procedures

It s true that years of practice as a police officer improve techniques used in interviewing, investigation and information gathering. But the game is completely different in the private sector.

Private investigators need to get information in a roundabout way not by using the authority of an office (or uniform).

PIs typically do not have access to the National Crime Information Center s5 national criminal record database or the FBI database.

Without a badge, access to classified, nonpublic information or a warrant, you quickly learn that LexisNexis, a library card and a roll of quarters for the copy machine at the local court are as important as anything else.

Access to resources normal individuals may not know about

This one is my favorite. By normal individuals, are they referring to private investigators with no law enforcement experience? And exactly what resources are they referring to?

I know that some investigators love touting their secret sources, but if it s something that normal individuals don t know about, it s either 1) illegal or 2) a figment of someone s imagination.

Your Experience Counts

Sure, if you are working in the field of bail enforcement or security (e.g., as a guard) or on any type of case involving child abduction, murder, violent crime, or countless other cases, your law enforcement experience will absolutely help you.

But how often do former law enforcement officers conduct background investigations through public sources, due diligence investigations, work for the defense in a white collar criminal defense case, conduct asset investigations, or spend hours on IRB6 or TLO7 trying to find someone?

This Business Is About Information, Not Credentials

This business is about obtaining information, legally and ethically, to help your clients.

Period.

Having a badge, unfortunately, does not change that equation. (There are, however, some investigators who like to flash their old badges8, but leaving anyone with the mistaken impression that you are law enforcement is illegal.)

If you don t believe me, just run down the roster of some of the best and biggest investigative firms in the world, such as Kroll, K2 Intelligence, Control Risks, Mintz Group and Guidepost Solutions, and you will find that they were founded and are run by attorneys, federal prosecutors, district attorneys, journalists and investigators who have spent their whole lives in the private sector without any law enforcement experience.

I didn t write this to pick a fight.

And this is not a chest-thumping exercise either.

In my opinion, there is no correlation between law enforcement experience and success as a private investigator, despite what many people assert.

So I have laid it out there and now it s time to hear what you think.

Note: This may shock you, but I have no law enforcement experience.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

References

  1. ^ What s the Difference Between a PI and a Cop? (techandscience.com)
  2. ^ video (beaconintlgroup.com)
  3. ^ rogue police officers search databases for personal information (www.huffingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ set up the husbands with drinking and driving (www.huffingtonpost.com)
  5. ^ National Crime Information Center s (www.fbi.gov)
  6. ^ IRB (www.irbsearch.com)
  7. ^ TLO (www.tlo.com)
  8. ^ flash their old badges (swampland.time.com)

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References

  1. ^ http://www.metroguards.net (www.metroguards.net)
  2. ^ Business (www.humansthink.com)

Private Investigation Proves To Be Perfect Post-Military Career

investigation

When he enlisted in the army at the ripe old age of seventeen, little did J.B. Howard dream that his experiences in the jungles of Vietnam would pave the way to a second career years later.

Following his service discharge, Howard became a police officer. Though he found police work satisfying in many ways, financial advancement wasn t one of them.

So, after retiring in 1984, Howard started looking for a better way to earn money. If you re carrying a weapon, you don t make any money, he explains. My children were still small, and I wanted to be able to provide for them.

Howard wanted a career that used both his military an police experience and degrees in police science and criminal justice he d obtained while working for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

He settled on private detection, opening his own investigation business.

How the Military Prepared Him for Private Investigating

Howard says his job in the military was a tremendous benefit. It taught me patience, he says. That s been the number one asset for me.

When Howard was asked to use a video camera to document insurance fraud, he realized how important his military training was.

Howard had run long-range patrols during his military service and knew how to use camouflage to his advantage. Learning surveillance in the military has really paid off for me, he says. I once hid under a haystack to record a plaintiff in a fraudulent Worker s Compensation case.

I followed him out to a farm, where I videoed him lifting heavy engine parts and crawling around in the dirt.

Success Through Accepting Attorney Referrals

Howard says a key point in his success was his decision to accept only clients referred by attorneys. I wanted to make sure the work I did was of a quality that could be used by a person s attorney to assist in what they were attempting to accomplish, he says.

Working by attorney referral only meant Howard did not need to advertise or even maintain a business telephone listing. Instead, opened his business by writing a letter introducing himself and his investigative services and hand delivered it to courthouse mailbox of every attorney in Asheville, North Carolina.

Howard got his first call mere minutes later.

It was from an attorney I d been on opposite sides with in court, says Howard. He had a case for me and wanted me to come to his office right away. My first week I got five cases, and I ve been busy ever since.

The Key: Getting Paid Up Front

Another factor in Howard s success is his policy of getting a healthy retainer.

The attorney calls, tells me what he or she wants and I figure my retainer based on the amount of time I think it will take to provide that, he explains. I make it very clear that once time represented by that retainer is expended, there will be additional charges, but, when extra work is required, I always call and explain why it s needed.

Though Howard values his police training, he says that police officers generally do not make good investigators. Over the years I ve probably had 75 former police officers work for me at various times, but I ve never had one who worked out, he says.

The reason?

Police officers are taught to react, to act only after someone commits an infraction. In the PI business, you have to be proactive, Howard says. You can t sit in a car and wait.

You may have to walk five miles through the woods to reach the best vantage point unseen.

The Difficulties of Being a Private Investigator

Howard emphasizes that being a private investigator requires resilience and determination. Often, you have to work nights and weekends, he says. When my kids were young, sometimes I didn t get home until the small hours of the morning.

Private investigators should also have a passport and be ready to go at a moment s notice, according to Howard, I ve worked in more than 30 states, Canada, Mexico, Germany and England, he says.

It s not for the weak hearted.

While his three children were growing up, Howard occasionally took one of them with him on surveillance. While it certainly gave the kids something to talk about in show and tell sessions at school, none have followed in their father s career footsteps.

These days, Howard focuses more on the consulting aspect of investigative work, leaving the fieldwork to younger associates. He s also honed his computer skills in order to do more investigating, especially background checks, online.

Nonetheless, Howard says his desire to investigate remains strong.

Sometimes I just have to grab a camera, get out there and get to the bottom of something, he says.

Written By: Julie Crawshaw

Teachers, Students,Security Guards Nabbed For Stealing G12 Exam …

POLICE have arrested 25 people including a teacher and two security guards for allegedly stealing grade 12 examination papers at Mabumba Secondary School in Luapula.
Police assistant public relations Mwaata Katongo said in a statement issued yesterday that 22 pupils, a teacher, identified as Edwin Mutakasha, and two security guards have been picked in connection with the breaking into a head teacher s office and stealing of examination papers last week.

On Friday last week, Mabumba Secondary School head teacher Fredrick Makuyu reported to the police that some burglars allegedly broke into the school s strong room and stole some examination papers.
Our officers picked up eight pupils who were found going through some examination papers and were being assisted by Mr Mutakasha, who is a primary school teacher at a different school.
She said police investigations reveal that the strong room where examination papers were stored was broken into and four trunks containing examination papers were found tampered with and some papers missing.
The missing examination papers include Food and Nutrition, Home Management, Civic Education, Religious Education, Science Paper Two, Mathematics Paper One and Two and Geography Paper One and Two.
Other papers are Science Paper Three (Chemistry), Science Paper One (Physics) and Commerce.
And a 14-year-old boy of Lusaka s Kanyama township has been electrocuted and killed on the spot at Mavellous Private School.
Ms Katongo said the juvenile died on Sunday when he attempted to pick a ball from the roof of the school which had a naked electric cable.
And 11 people died in separate accidents which happened on Saturday and Sunday in Lusaka, Luapula, North-western, Copperbelt, Western and Central provinces.
Ms Katongo said the accidents were as a result of over-speeding leading to drivers losing control or hitting pedestrians.

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TransTech Systems to showcase Cyclops 6 with ChromaID …

Published on 31 Oct 2012

Visualant , Inc. announced recently that its wholly owned subsidiary, TransTech Systems, Inc1., will be exhibiting at the ISC East 20122 tradeshow on October 30-31, 2012 at the Javits Center in New York. The company will be demonstrating its latest ground-breaking product, Cyclops 6 with ChromaID Technology, in booth #1750.

The new Cyclops 6 demonstrates the power of the Visualant ChromaID technology, which reads, records and analyses invisible chromatic identifiers in gases, liquids, solids and surfaces. The technology promises to spawn a new wave of consumer and industrial applications replacing old spectral analysis techniques found in expensive science labs and making them more accessible to people in the field.

Jeff Kruse, GM, TransTech Systems, commented, These are very exciting times at TransTech Systems as we harness the power of Visualant s ChromaID technology and formalise plans to make their products more readily available to our valued customers around the world. This ensures we remain ahead of the trends in technology and keep our customers on the cutting edge.

TransTech Systems is a significant stakeholder and remains a prominent and trusted distributor of security and authentication products. It plays a key role in a broader strategy for Visualant ignited by recent partnerships aiming to release ChromaID-enabled products and apps to the masses.

Unique to ISC East will be the centrepiece for SIA Security Week, which also includes Securing New Ground, the Security 500 Conference and Recognition Dinner, and the Security Week Gala, presented by ISC East sponsor and partner, SIA.

References

  1. ^ TransTech Systems, Inc (www.sourcesecurity.com)
  2. ^ ISC East 2012 (www.sourcesecurity.com)