Dear Editor,In alignment with the ecotourism and green energy strategy, a focus on organic farming and the rearing of organic livestock are not only complementary to this strategy, but also a key potential driver of economic growth.Currently the organic food industry is experiencing higher growth than the traditional fertiliser and chemical-heavy produced food industry. Also the organic food industry is over US billion in annual sales with the USA representing close to US billion of those sales, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA).The profit margin of these organic products is higher than those of traditionally produced goods. As there is currently a premium placed on the health benefits of consuming goods that are naturally produced free of chemical fertilisers.Guyana has the advantage of having virgin land that could be dedicated to such production and quickly prepared to enter into such a market venture. In addition, the recent closure of the Wales Sugar Estate and interest in the diversification of the revenue streams of GuySuCo, offers an opportunity to enter into organic food production. Some estimates have identified a three-year waiting period for the land to rid itself of the chemicals from previous crops in order for the new chemical free crops to be certified organic by the USA.Large grocery outlets and specialised grocery stores are key access points for establishing lucrative contracts prior to full scale investment. The current trend for organic produce in these stores is present, and the development and transition of their product offering supports this trend.Participation in the organic food industry will not only add increased profit margins and growth to the agriculture sector, but it will also allow ecotourists to have a full immersion nature experience, while enjoying the additional health benefits, such a green and sustainable economy. This will also help ensure the continuation of the healthy lifestyle of the Guyanese people.Best regards,Jamil Changlee
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsTHURSDAY The Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold a fall business expo, 4:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza. Call (805) 370-0035. SEMINARS TUESDAY The Institute of Management Consultants’ Southern California Chapter will hold a seminar titled “Essential Ethics for Survival and Success in the 21st Century,” 4:30 p.m., followed by a dinner meeting at 6 p.m., at the Ayres Hotel, 14400 Hindry Ave., Hawthorne. Call (818) 346-1750. MEETINGS WEDNESDAY That New Network will hold a networking dinner at 6:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Famous Deli (indoor patio), 16650 Ventura Blvd., Encino. Call (818) 995-4215. The Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold a Chamber After Five mixer, 5:30 p.m. at The Courtyard at Westlake, 3625 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Westlake Village. Call (805) 370-0035. WEDNESDAY Investing in Real Estate Clubs will hold a seminar titled “How to Analyze Investment Properties,” 6:30 p.m. at The Acapulco Restaurant, 722 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale. Call (818) 232-3188. SCORE will hold a seminar titled “Marketing – A-Do-It-Yourself Approach for Small Business,” 9:30 a.m. in the SCORE Conference Room, 330 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 190, Glendale. Call (818) 552-3206 THURSDAY Investing in Real Estate Clubs will hold a seminar titled “How to Analyze Investment Properties,” 6:30 p.m. at Old Spaghetti Factory, 11896 Foothill Blvd., Rancho Cucamonga. Call (818) 232-3188. SATURDAY California State University, Northridge’s Tseng College of Extended Learning is offering a class titled “Introduction to Interpreting,” 9 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 23-Dec. 16, at CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Call (818) 677-7638. SCORE will hold a seminar titled “Bringing a New Product to Market,” 9 a.m. at University of Phoenix, 1515 W. 190th St., Suite 200, Gardena. Call (818) 552-3206 CONTINUING EVENTS TODAY The Stargazer Oriental Restaurant & Bar will host a business networking mixer at 5 p.m. at 6501 Fallbrook Ave., West Hills. Call (818) 704-6633. Temple City Toastmasters meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month at Live Oak Park, 10144 Bogue St., Temple City. Call (626) 444-1482. Pre-Paid Legal Services will meet at 7:15 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel, 30100 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills. Call (818) 781-1111. The Winnetka Chamber of Commerce meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month at Canoga Park Bowl, Canoga Park. Call (818) 348-6908. The Toluca Lake Lions Club meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Mondays of each month at Paty’s Restaurant, 10001 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake. TUESDAY The YMCA’s Coed Service Club meets at 6 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month at various restaurants. For more information, call (818) 841-0387. California Entrepreneur Women meets at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at Carrows Restaurant, 18355 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. Call (818) 996-4226. The Mayor’s Office of International Trade offers free international-trade assistance the second Tuesday of each month at the Valley Economic Alliance, 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Call (818) 379-7000. The Business Works Networking Group meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Carol’s Restaurant, Northridge. Call (805) 497-0092. To Network meets at 7 a.m. each Tuesday at Mimi’s Caf , 400 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks. Call (805) 377-0853. The Greater San Fernando Valley Business and Professional Women meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, call (818) 789-5414. The Kiwanis Club of Tarzana will meet at 6:30 p.m. at Paul’s Cafe, 18588 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. Call (818) 996-1020. Business Network International, Lunch Bunch Chapter, will meet at noon at Carousel Restaurant, 150 E. Angeleno St., Burbank. Call (818) 519-1717, Ext. 220. The Professional Business Network of the San Fernando Valley will meet at 7:15 a.m. at IHOP, 19100 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. For more information, call (818) 345-4924 or log on to www.leads4business.com. The Network Advantage of Santa Clarita will meet at 7:15 a.m. at Mimi’s Cafe, Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 702-9687. The Harbor chapter of Business Network International will meet at 7 a.m. at Mimi’s Cafe in Ventura. For more information, call (805) 647-3600. The Optimist Club in Action meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Big Jim’s Restaurant, 8950 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Sun Valley. Call (818) 785-2877. The International Association of Administrative Professionals, Satellite Chapter, meets at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at Chaminade College Preparatory, 10210 Oakdale Ave., Chatsworth. Call (818) 704-0763. BizNet Online magazine will host a networking breakfast from 8 to 9:30 at Denny’s Restaurant, 9001 Tampa Ave., Northridge. Call (818) 892-7883, Ext. 6, or visit the Web site at www.biznetonline.com. Burbank Business Network International will meet at 7 a.m. at the Carousel Restaurant Holiday Inn, 105 E. Angeleno Ave., Burbank. Call Harvey Branman at (818) 954-9294. The Business Referral Group of Tarzana will meet from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the International House of Pancakes, 19100 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. Call (818) 881-4900. The Computer Users Group meets at 7 p.m. each Tuesday at Granada Pavilion, 11128 Balboa Blvd., Granada Hills. Call Mariam Radcliffe at (818) 249-1629 or visit the Web site at www.tugnet.org. Empowerment Systems workshop: “Helping Achievers Succeed.” Call Steve Chichester at (661) 287-4753. Crescenta Valley Chapter of Ali Lassen’s Leads Club will meet at 7:15 a.m. at the Decadence Espresso Bar, 3820 Ocean View Blvd., Montrose. Call (800) 767-7337. LeTip of Calabasas will meet at 7 a.m. at Marmalade Cafe, 4783 Commons Way, Calabasas. Call Glenn Neely at (800) 617-5626, Ext. 210. LeTip of Santa Clarita will meet at 7:15 a.m. at the International House of Pancakes, 24737 W. Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch. Call Dr. John at (661) 222-9021. Motivated Toastmasters will meet from 6:50 to 8:30 a.m. at Denny’s Restaurant, 5525 Sepulveda Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Call (310) 979-5777. North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce Senior Services Networking Cluster will meet at noon at Carrows Restaurant, Devonshire St., Chatsworth. Pre-Paid Legal Services meets Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Hilton Hotel, 100 Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale. Call (818) 781-1111. Power Partners of Santa Clarita will meet at 7 a.m. at Marie Callender’s, Magic Mountain Parkway and The Old Road, Valencia. Call (661) 298-5330. Premier Business Xchange will meet at 7:15 a.m. at the Woodland Hills Country Club, 21150 Dumetz Road, Woodland Hills. Call (818) 832-1463. Rising Star Toastmasters meets from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month at Frank’s Restaurant, 6005 Vineland Ave., North Hollywood. (818) 982-9999.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) The air force helicopter pilots who spotted what was left of a jetliner that crashed in the dense Amazon rain forest found no way to land, and no reason for hope. After apparently clipping a smaller plane, the airliner carrying 155 people hurtled at 310 mph into jungle so thick that emergency workers had to be lowered by rope to cut down trees and clear space for helicopters to touch down, Brazilian aviation officials said. “At that speed, it is highly unlikely any survivors will be found,” said Jose Carlos Pereira, president of Brazil’s airport authority. Rescue teams reached the crash zone hours after the air force pilots found it on Saturday. The pilots did not see any sign of an intact fuselage in the small debris field. “There’s little indication of survivors, but we won’t rule out the possibility,” Brazil Air Force Brig. Gen. Antonio Gomes Leite Filho said in a news conference Saturday evening. “We haven’t fully explored the crash scene; it’s a very complicated area.” Filho said search and rescue operations would continue until authorities are sure there are no survivors. Officials suspended the search after sundown Saturday, however, citing difficulties to access the location at night. They planned to resume at daybreak today. Meanwhile, some 50 weary-eyed relatives and friends of the Gol airliner’s passengers waited for news in a hotel lobby in the capital of Brasilia. “The worst thing of all is not knowing how it happened and why it happened,” said Carmelita Meira, the 70-year-old grandmother of one of the passengers. If no one survived the crash of Gol airlines Flight 1907, it would be Brazil’s worst air disaster. The Boeing 737-800 with 149 passengers and six crew vanished Friday while flying from the jungle city of Manaus to Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. Pereira said the plane and an executive jet may have collided before the crash, though that was still under investigation. The wreckage was found near the 49,500-acre Jarina cattle ranch, 1,090 miles northwest of Sao Paulo in the state of Mato Grosso. “We heard a loud explosion and some of our employees saw a plane flying low,” ranch manager Milton Picalho said by phone. He said the plane may have crashed inside the neighboring 6.92 million-acre Xingu Indian reservation. If no survivors are found, the death toll from the crash would top the 137 people killed in 1982, when a Boeing 727 operated by the now-defunct Vasp airline crashed in the northeastern city of Fortaleza. Gol vice president David Barioni said both Brazilians and foreigners were aboard the Gol jet, but did not provide any breakdown. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva declared three days of national mourning for the crash, which came just ahead of Brazil’s presidential elections today. The cause of the crash was unclear, but Pereira said the jetliner may have touched a Brazilian-made Legacy executive jet in flight. “There was some kind of contact between the two aircraft and it is highly probable that this was the cause,” he said. “But we will only be absolutely certain after a full investigation.” “The main question the investigation must address is, how can this happen with two ultramodern aircraft with collision-preventing equipment,” he said. New York Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty said Times Business Travel columnist Joe Sharkey was one of seven people aboard the Legacy jet, which was on route from Sao Jose dos Campos, near Sao Paulo, to the United States. Sharkey was on assignment in Brazil for a business magazine specializing on corporate jets. Sharkey said the Legacy jet stabilized after the apparent collision until it landed at a Brazilian air force base in the Amazon state of Para, according to McNulty. It was the first major incident for Gol Linhas Aereas Intelligentes SA, a Brazilian airline that took to the skies in 2001 with six Boeing 737s, serving seven Brazilian cities. Gol said its jet had been delivered by Boeing Co. just three weeks ago, and had been flown for only 200 hours. Gol has grown exponentially since it took to the skies, dramatically boosting its fleet using the same model of plane to keep costs down while giving passengers cold box lunches and soft drinks instead of hot meals and free alcohol, the norm on most Brazilian flights. The company is now Brazil’s second-largest airline after Tam Linhas Aereas SA, with more than 500 daily flights within Brazil and to Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. It rapidly gained market share by offering low-cost tickets, modeling its service after low-cost carriers in the United States and Europe. Gol also benefited from the demise of Brazil’s flagship airline Varig, which virtually disintegrated earlier this year under a mountain of debt. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Most ballot measures to raise taxes were defeated Tuesday, including controversial taxes on gasoline and cigarettes. Proposition 86, which would have increased cigarette taxes by $2.60 a pack, the highest in the nation, to raise an estimated $2 billion a year for anti-smoking programs and other health initiatives, lost by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent. Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco called the tax excessive while doing little to fund anti-smoking programs. Proposition 87, which would have imposed a tax on oil production in California to raise $4 billion for loans, grants and subsidies to promote alternative fuels and energy-efficient vehicles, went down easily, getting only 45 percent of the vote. Proposition 83, otherwise known as Jessica’s Law, passed easily with 71 percent of the vote. It sets tougher restrictions for paroled sex offenders, including a prohibition from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park. That could make it virtually impossible for released offenders to live in most cities, forcing them to rural areas. A legal challenge is likely. Proposition 90, a sweeping constitutional amendment related to government’s use of eminent domain, failed, 52-48. Supporters promoted the initiative as a way to protect homes and small businesses from government seizure. But the measure also would have held governments financially accountable for passing laws that substantially affect property values. The record amount of money poured into the initiative battles this year has been used by supporters to promote Proposition 89, which would have reformed campaign financing in California. But it went down to resounding defeat, 75-25.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Proposition 88, a measure to impose a statewide parcel tax to pump more money into education, was trounced, with 77 percent opposed. Proposition 84, an initiative placed on the ballot by conservationists, passed with 54 percent of the vote. The measure raises $5.4 billion for water quality, conservation and park programs. The ballot also includes several emotionally charged initiatives, including a replay of an anti-abortion measure that voters narrowly rejected last year. Proposition 85, which would have required a doctor to notify the parents or guardians of a minor who seeks an abortion, lost 55-45. The initiative was funded by the owner of a San Diego weekly newspaper, Jim Holman. It would have made California the 16th state with a parental notification law. Another 19 states require parental consent.
12 January 2015South Africa has assumed the chair of the largest coalition of developing countries in the UN, the Group of 77 (G77).The G77 provides the means for the countries of the south to articulate and promote their collective economic interests, and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic and development issues in the UN’s system.The body also promotes south-south co-operation and strengthens economic and technical co-operation among developing countries themselves.Accepting the responsibility of chairing the G77, the deputy minister of international relations and co-operation (Dirco), Luwellyn Landers, thanked the members of the G77 for placing their trust and confidence in South Africa.Landers also paid a special tribute to Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma, for Bolivia’s stewardship of the G77 and China during 2014.He said South Africa would “spare no effort in continuing Bolivia’s legacy by ensuring that we collectively enhance the development agenda of the south”.South Africa will chair the G77 during the 70th anniversary of the UN at a crucial juncture in the global community’s efforts to agree on the development priorities and goals needed to take the work of the Millennium Development Goals forward and to transform development beyond 2015.This year is also a critically important year for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as a new legal instrument that contains commitments for both developed and developing countries is expected to be adopted under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.During its term, South Africa will be responsible for negotiating and speaking on behalf of two-thirds of the UN membership on key development issues.“After 50 distinguished years, the G77 remains all the more relevant, specifically at this important juncture when the international community is considering our collective development aspirations beyond 2015,” said Landers.SANews
Our nation’s courts are among the oldest institutions in this nation of laws, and their many distinct, disjointed, and undesirable systems are part of that heritage. So what is thestate of criminal history information in this country? How does a loss prevention or human resources professional designing a background screening program develop an appropriate strategy for criminal history searches?To explore the first question, we will take a look how criminal history information is housed in this country, and how mistaken impressions become policy.The FBI National DatabaseThe most famous and misunderstood non-source is the FBI database, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Manysecurity professionals, having come from local, state, or federal law enforcement, call upon friends and colleagues who still have NCIC terminal access when they need criminal history information. Sometimes, this may be a display of insider power intended to awe those who do not have a golden Rolodex of contacts. But most times, it is simply a federal crime.- Sponsor – FBI audit and compliance programs are getting better and better with the government stepping up prosecution of offenders. By law and by compact with the states who contribute information, NCIC data is not available without permissible purpose and legislative authority, such as has been granted to banks and securities dealers. It is usually not an option for theethical and law-abiding professional.Even for those who are currently sworn law enforcement officers, improper use of NCIC will lead to prosecution. Recently, an elected sheriff was charged with a felony for using NCIC to do background checks on his political opponents and their supporters.But don’t be concerned about lack of access. Even for those with legislative authority, the use of this data is rife with problems. The NCIC was originally intended to serve as a law enforcement source of intelligence. It does that well and is a credit to those who maintain it. Reporting of records to the NCIC, however, is dependent on the states or other courts forwarding the data. It is often not current (as much as two years behind for some states), and rarely has current disposition information. Generally, an NCIC search is a beginning — but not an end. NCIC users understand that, but many employers do not.State-by-State DatabasesSo if NCIC is not an option, why not turn to the individual states who supply the national database? Unfortunately,there are issues with these repositories as well.In many states, the state criminal history repository was, again, designed as a law enforcement intelligence tool.The data housed is often late, incomplete, or simply not reported from the originating court.To illustrate this point, consider the experience of one Florida retailer who Florida employer to search the department of Law Enforcement for Florida applicants relied solely on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement state repository for criminal history checks. The company hired an employee who had no record in the state repository. Unfortunately, this employee subsequently assaulted a customer. The customer’s attorney placed one phone call to the court in the employee’s county of residence that revealed a significant history of assault.The general rule of thumb for most negligent hiring cases is “if you could have known, you should have known.”This retailer learned an expensive lesson about the deficiencies in state repositories. I have seen similar examples in most state repositories.Having said that, Florida recently passed legislation to provide some protections when an employer incorporates a state repository search in its hiring program that behooves a Florida employer to search the department of Law Enforcement for Florida applicants.Turn Around TimeLet’s run some numbers on state criminal history searches. In the fifty states plus the District of Columbia there are forty-two central criminal record repositories. Of these forty-two, half of the states want the request accompanied by a signed release. Eight of those twenty-one states, Alabama, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wyoming, require a special notarized release. Four states, Delaware, Nevada, Ohio, and West Virginia, require a signed release plus a completed ten-digit fingerprint card or a thumbprint. These requirements add significantly to the cost, time, and logistical complexity of accessing records.Of the remaining twenty-one states, only eighteen have an average turn around time of four days or less. Some states will only accept requests by mail and average two weeks turn around time. Some have stretched out as long as 60 days, either due to backlogs or a pre-notification requirement of the consumer before any records will be reported out.In addition to the timelessness of the reporting, what about other costs? State repository fees range up to $25 per name, averaging $15 paid directly to the state agency. This, of course, does not include any handling fee for your public record provider or the cost of fingerprint collection when required. Fees are subject to change without notice and are expected to increase along with all other costs.ReliabilityFor the moment, let’s assume that time, money, and logistical obstacles are not an issue. Just how reliable is the state repository data, anyway? Although the potential for statewide coverage is attractive, as is the fact that both felonies and misdemeanors may be included, experience indicates that the quality of the reports from these agenciesis substantially lower than for records obtained directly from the originating courts. Remember, the state repository data is second-generation information gathered from courts and police departments statewide, with little consistency in format or language. There are sometimes problems in matching a rrest data with disposition data since they come from different sources at different times. Even in those states where there is a statutory requirement for the various criminal justice agencies to report records to the state repository, we have found both significant reporting delays and in many cases known records having never been reported to the repository at all!An administrator with one state repository who asked not to be identified stated that he estimated thatonly about 40 percent of all criminal data from the police and criminal courts was actually ever reported to the statecriminal record center. Further, he thought this was pretty typical compared to other states!In 1993, the Defense Personnel Security Research Center (PERSEREC) published a white paper authored by Richards Heuer entitled “Crime and Security Risk.” The study was commissioned by the Director of the CIA and was one in a series evaluating various criteria for adjudicating security clearances. This paper evaluated the condition of criminal records in the U.S. and determined that both the NCIC and various state repositories were flawed by reporting problems and that the only search exercising appropriate due diligence was one done at the originating courts. Unfortunately, noupdated study has been published. But based on current experience, I believe a similar study today would yield the sameconclusion.With all these attendant problems, is there a place for a statewide search in the pre-employment background process? Perhaps. A statewide search is to a court of origin search as a shotgun is to a rifle. A shotgun will disperse lotsof little pellets covering a wider area on a map, but will also leave a lot of target area un-hit. With a rifle, on the other hand, one can be reasonably assured of hitting the target exactly. If having the widest possible coverage is an objective, while recognizing all the holes in coverage, a state repository search achieves that objective.Courts of OriginAlways mindful of the holes inherent in state repository searches, I would recommend that, as a minimum, an employer consider adding a search of the county-of-residence superior court to ensure that those holes do not create major liabilities in states other than Florida. If the objective of any background search is more than merely“papering a file,” searches in those courts of origin are a critical element.What are courts of origin?County Superior Court. The most commonly searched state court is the county superior or felony-level court, which is usually located in the county seat. This court of origin contains the records for the felony-level cases thatoriginate in that jurisdiction. A complete county felony search at that location will reveal the following:Felony charges that resulted in a felony conviction,Felony charges that were pleaded down to a misdemeanor conviction,Bench warrants issued by that court, andCases that are still pending final action for all cases and convictions that have not been sealed or expunged.Every rule has exceptions. There are jurisdictions in which the felony-level court is actually an independent citycourt, or in which there are split divisions requiring at least two searches at different locations to complete acountywide felony search.Police officers are trained to “hang from the highest branch on the tree,” meaning that if there is any discretionregarding whether an offense is classified as a felony or misdemeanor, always arrest for the most serious felony and letthe courts sort matters out. Not only does this practice result in many more cases being found in the felony courts,but it also helps unclog our courts system by affording reasonable grounds for plea-bargaining to avoid lengthy and expensive trials. Many felony cases, therefore, end up as misdemeanor convictions.Municipal Courts. Misdemeanors are a source of confusion for many. Misdemeanors are defined in different ways by different states, but to simplify somewhat, they are generally those offenses that can result in fines of less than $1,000 or jail terms of less than one year in a county facility. The courts that hear misdemeanors are generally municipal courts, and they do not always share space, indices, or administration with the courts that adjudicate felonies. This means that there is often not a one-stop shop for a countywide search for all felonies and all misdemeanors for an applicant.There are three conditions under which misdemeanors will be revealed. First, a search of the county felony courts will also reveal, as noted above, those misdemeanor convictions resulting from an original felony charge. (Note that in some courts, these are the only misdemeanors that will be revealed.) Second, there are many courts that are unified to the extent that either all the case activity can be searched in one index, or at the least, there is an index for all misdemeanor courts in that county co-located in the same county seat courthouse with the felony court. Third is a circumstance very similar to the second, but only the misdemeanors from that municipal court serving the county seat can be researched at that court.What all this means is that the requestor, who truly wants or needs misdemeanors for a particular municipal jurisdiction, should specify that jurisdiction in the request, or the search will be done only at the county seat, with the possible range of results above.In the case of misdemeanor courts, the confusion is not only with the requestor. Many of the public recordaccess difficulties come in these courts. As in all public sector jobs, tax cuts combined with population growth haveforced these courts to do more with less. Looking for ways to ease that burden, periodically one of these courts will devise new and onerous or restrictive policies to reduce their research. The best examples of the worst are found in New Jersey, pockets of Kentucky, and California, which flares up occasionally. In New Jersey, many municipal courts simply refuse to accept research requests in person or at all.Federal Courts. The next most common type of criminal court of origin is the federal district court. These courts hear cases involving violations of federal law. There may be only one to a state, or there may be several. These courts can be searched in person or by using a remote access. But, however they are searched, they represent a problem forthe user. Since these courts rely very heavily on fingerprint identification, it is very difficult to get anything other than a name and possible address match with tools other than fingerprints. That said, there is no substitute for a federal district search if that search is required for a reasonable due diligence to fill a position.The Myths and Realities of Criminal History ResearchThis search is a requirement for those employers authorized to use fingerprints, such as registered securities dealers, as the fingerprint search against the NCIC will not contain the most up to date adjudication information for a given case. For the employer with a tighter budget, a federal district search for lower level positions, in the absence of a legal requirement or specific risk avoidance objective, may be overkill. While it will reveal charges not found in any state search, it is likely that the applicant will be no stranger to the state courts.Court Research. For each of the sources of criminal history noted above, there is no single access method. For most, a research agent is still required to physically visit the court — unless, of course, you can afford the average three- to four-week turn around via mailed requests.Once at the court, research is performed a variety of ways. In some courts, a local public access terminal is available that can provide not only index information, but also complete case information that can be transcribed. Inother courts, the public access terminal may only be a name index. As the public may not access physical court files directly, name matches must be brought to the clerk of court staff, who will research them as time permits and provide the results when they can get to them. In other courts, searches must be done by hand in old ledger books orpaper indices. In still others, the automated case management software has been in place for less than seven years, so searches must be done using a combination of computer terminal access, old ledger books, and reliance on court services staff.Roughly 10 percent of all searches may be done using remote access tools directly into court systems, but this doesnot always mean faster or cheaper. Even aside from some of the specialized hardware or software required by somecourts, there are connectivity issues and poorly designed systems that dump page after page of docket activity making it a“Where’s Waldo?” search for the actual identity, charges, and disposition data.There are still other remote systems that serve only as pointer files and still require the services of a live agent andcourt services staff to complete the research.Adding another level of complexity to all the above is the fact that each state has its own, unique criminal code, andeach court within each state may have its own procedures for recording and storing information. There are about 3,200 counties in the U.S., and about 10,000 different courts. Some days it seems that all they have in common is that they are understaffed, overworked, and uninterested in your problems.Building a Background Check StrategyWith an understanding of the challenges of both online and court research, how does one determine the appropriate scope for a criminal history background? To answer that question, there is one more concept that must beunderstood. That is the concept I call “Managed Risk and Criminal Histories:”Hiring employees creates potential risk to other employees, the public, and to the assets of the employer. Past behavior is one of the best predictors of future behavior. Any position being filled must be evaluated to understand those criminal behaviors that add risk. Because there is no useful single nationwide repository of criminal history and since it is unreasonable to conduct a search in every court in the country, a background program should be designed to cover both a reasonable period of time and a reasonable geographic scope to manage and mitigate those risks.Simply stated: You can’t do it all, so what can you do?I am going to set down some guidelines based on the experience of clients around the country. Take theseguidelines and discuss them with legal counsel to see how they may best work within the context of your company and your employees.A Complete Application. Every criminal history check should begin with a complete application. This cannot be emphasized enough. That application should contain a statement of truth in which the applicant acknowledges that all information is true and complete, without omissions, understanding that the employer has the right to choose not to hire or to terminate if they find out otherwise. This application should ask the applicant to self-report jobrelated convictions. (There are numerous state and federal laws addressing this section that can not be addressed here. Once again, consult with counsel.)Be sure that the application has sufficient address history to cover the required depth of background discussed below. Also be sure that if you are using a third-party background company, you have a separate release and notification form signed by the applicant that meets Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) standards. (Note that some courts require date of birth for an identifier, especially for common names, and the release is a good place to capture that and other identifying data).Social Security Check. The next required tool is the social security number check done through one of the credit bureaus. This check serves three important functions.First, it may help reveal a legal name change when additional names are associated with a number.Second, it serves to raise a red flag if (a) the applicant’s name is not associated with the entered number, (b) the number was issued by an unaccounted for state, or (c) the date of issue does not seem to match the applicant’s age.Third, it will reveal up to a seven-year residence address history. This will be crucial in identifying courts to be searched that would otherwise be missed should the applicant have selective memory.Criminal History Check. Now you would use a position risk analysis to decide how wide and how deep the search needs to be. The how wide is simply how many years of employment or residence addresses do you need to cover. The how deep is how many years back do you need to go in the court that you are searching. The standard for depth of search in a court is seven years back. Unless one has specific licensing or regulatory requirements to do otherwise, this should be your baseline. It is the how wide that will vary by position.A very simple rule of thumb is to start with the current county of residence as the most basic and minimum search, and add to that as responsibility and risk increases.Taking our rule of thumb, the following are reasonable guidelines for criminal history checks, along with thenumber of courts for budgeting. (When budgeting, remember that about 10 percent of courts charge statutory access fees ranging from $5 to $26. Your average cost of fees will vary depending on your applicant pool demographics, but in a true nationwide distribution, you would be safe planning $2 per search for access fees. Fees in New York state are especially high, and Los Angeles courts are $5 per name per search.)Entry-level position, no cash handling, very little or no customer contact, well supervised — A check of felonies and those misdemeanors indexed at the court of current county of residence, seven years deep. Average 1 court searched.Entry-level position, no cash handling, customer contact, well supervised — A check of felonies and those misdemeanors indexed at the court(s) covering three years of residence checked, seven years deep. Average 1.5 courts searched.Entry level position, cash handling, customer contact, well supervised — A check of felonies and those misdemeanors indexed at the court(s) covering five years of residence checked, seven years deep. Average 2 courts searched.Mid–management or key holder position — A check of felonies and those misdemeanors indexed at the court(s) covering seven years of residence checked seven years deep. Average 2.7 courts searchedUnsupervised customer contact, such as delivery or repair person — A check of felonies and those misdemeanors indexed at the court(s) covering seven years of residence checked seven years deep, plus a sex offender’s registry check. Average 2.7 courts searched, plus the state registry.Upper-level management and purchasing positions — A check of felonies and those misdemeanors indexed at the court(s) covering seven years of residence checked in both county and federal district courts at least seven years deep. Average 4 courts searched.Those hiring in metropolitan areas covering many counties might consider adding either additional contiguous counties or statewide checks, if available. Atlanta is one of the best examples of a city touching many counties, but it also has one of the hardest to use statewide searches.Misdemeanor Checks. Not specifically mentioned in the search guidelines are the addition of misdemeanor checks. Law will require them for certain positions. For example, before a security company can arm a security officer, they must search toensure that there is not a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence.The Myths and Realities of Criminal History ResearchBeyond legal requirements, some employers require a separate misdemeanor check of residences because they are concerned about behaviors that pose risks such as misdemeanor assaults, substance abuse, and theft convictions.If your budget can support additional separate searches, by all means, add them to your search package. You willadd roughly two-tenths of a search to each felony search requested.You may wish to evaluate the targeted misdemeanor search by doing a retrospective study on the results from those courts, not only in terms of hits, but also in terms of employment decisions made. You may find that, as so eloquently put by a Florida client: “The juice is not worth the squeeze.”Identifying Information. Be prepared with complete identifying information when requesting your search, both to improve accuracy and to improve turnaround time. Typical requirements for a search are full name, date of birth, social securitynumber, maiden name and/or aliases, race, and sex. Puerto Rico searches require the mother’s maiden name, and some courts, like Los Angeles, use driver’s license as a good identifier. A current home address will be required for those repositories that automatically notify applicants of the results of the search, including Oregon, Kentucky, and North Dakota.From Myths to RealitiesThis article represents the realities of accessing criminal history in today’s environment. Of course, times change and courts will continue to evolve. How quickly — if ever — criminal history will become available online is difficult to predict. Exercise caution and evaluate online opportunities so that you understand the data source and its limitations. We can expect more courts to offer remote access solutions to address their own needs of handling the growing volume of requests, but remember that not all on-line solutions or new case management systems pick up the minimum seven-year depth of history.With this knowledge, your preemployment screening program can be designed to provide a reasonable hedge against the suits de jour of negligent hiring, retention, and supervision. There is no Lucy in the sky with data, but the diamonds of information to be mined can help you and your company protect employees and assets by matching each qualified applicant to the right job. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
Police officer caught on camera punching teen in the face [Viral Video]On Friday afternoon, a Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, police officer was caught on camera punching a young black man in the face in the parking lot of the Mayfair Mall. The police officer arrived on the scene after a report of disorderly teens. And though the video, shot by Tyrone Jackson, only shows 45 seconds of the police’s interaction with the teens, it clearly shows an officer throwing several punches to the young man’s face while he was being held by a mall security guard. In an interview with WAFF, Jackson said he knew what the cops were doing was wrong. “If it was just a tussling, trying to get him down, okay that would be something different. But the punch to the face, twice, to a minor, it was something serious to me,” Jackson said. Jackson also said he noticed that mall security was following the teens and eventually a police officer showed up. “When the officer got out of the car I said ‘stop,’ and got in front of the young man, and next thing you know he’s like, ‘Let me go!’” And that’s when he said he started to film the incident. Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber issued this statement: “I can assure you that we take all situations seriously when they involve a use of force by our officers. We thoroughly review all incidents in which force is used by an officer and will do so in this incident, as well.” On Saturday a chapter of the Black Panthers urged the firing of the police officer. [Source: The Root]Employee stole 4 TVs from South Jersey warehouseEdward F. Fox, 27, of Beverly, New Jersey, is wanted by the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office for failure to appear for a post-indictment arraignment on Dec. 8, 2017 on charges of burglary and theft. He is 5’10,” 140 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. Fox is accused of using his key as a former employee to get into the Great Railing firm warehouse on the Black Horse Pike in Monroe Township on July 10, 2017, police said. He stole four flat-screen TVs and fled, police said. He was arrested the following day. He was indicted by a Gloucester County grand jury on one count of third-degree burglary and one count of third-degree theft by unlawful taking. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the defendant should not attempt to apprehend him. Instead, contact the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office at 856-384-5646 or e-mail the GCPO. [Source: Moorestown Patch]Asset protection associate charged with using ‘excessive force’ on alleged shoplifter [Viral Video]An alleged shoplifter and a Century 21 employee in New York City were charged after an altercation between security and the alleged shoplifter Friday night, authorities said. Eyewitness video from the incident shows 24-year-old Acosta Wilson, a security officer at the Century 21 in Lower Manhattan, using “excessive force” while subduing an alleged shoplifter, 19-year-old Victor Roberson, police said. At one point, the video shows security personnel striking Roberson in the face with a closed fist. ”I can’t breathe,” Roberson can be heard repeating in the video. Brian Fraser, a witness who recorded the encounter, said he watched Roberson get tackled and thrown to the ground. ”They were in fact kind of choking him. At this point, he’s on the ground. He starts to scream, ‘I can’t breathe I can’t breathe,’” he said. “Spitting or not, there’s no justification for you to tackle a man and decide to punch him,” he said.- Sponsor – Before the confrontation, Roberson had reportedly triggered a theft detection device while making his way out of the rear door of the Cortlandt Street location, and police said two pairs of stolen Prada shoes, valued at $850, were stuffed into his backpack. When police arrived on the scene around 8:45 p.m., Roberson was being detained by asset protection personnel at the location. While placing Roberson in custody, police said the young man complained of neck and back pain. Bystanders also reported that Century 21 security used excessive force, and upon further review, Wilson was arrested and charged with assault. Roberson was treated at a local hospital and released. He was charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. Century 21 Executive Director of Stores Larry Mentzer released a statement Saturday saying, ”We take this situation very seriously. The asset protection team member involved in the apprehension of the alleged shoplifter has been suspended pending an investigation. We will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement.” [Source: ABC7, Eyewitness News]Woman stole fruit; ran over LP associateA Peterson, Minnesota, woman under the influence of cocaine was arrested Thursday after she allegedly shoplifted from a Winona grocery store and ran over an employee who attempted to confront her in the parking lot. Jenna Rebecca Guenther, 45, is charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, theft and gross misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. According to police, Guenther slipped out the doors of Rochester Wholesale Fruit without paying for her items late Thursday morning. A female LP associate followed Guenther to the parking lot and stood in front of her vehicle. That, officers and witnesses say, is when Guenther attempted to drive off, striking the employee. Officers soon reached the scene and took Guenther into custody. While searching her purse, they found a small case containing a rocky substance. Guenther tested positive for cocaine during a field test. Police did not have a medical update on the employee, 26, but said she appeared to be OK after the incident. [Source: Winona Daily News]Man charged in rash of store theftsA Wisconsin man is suspected in a string of thefts and attempted thefts at stores in St. Peter and Henderson. Cory Jay Rosillo, 47, of Osceola, Wisconsin, is facing felony burglary and theft charges filed in Nicollet County Friday after he allegedly broke into the office at the Family Fresh grocery store in St. Peter on April 22. He stole over $20,000 cash from an open safe, as well as more than $5,000 in checks and over $600 worth of stamps, according to a criminal complaint. Rosillo also is facing a felony attempted theft charge filed Monday in Nicollet County District Court for allegedly stealing money from a tip jar and attempting to get into the registers at La Mexicana Market in St. Peter on May 1. He also was charged with gross misdemeanor attempted theft Monday for allegedly attempting to access a register at the Traverse des Sioux Garden Center in St. Peter on May 1. Rosillo also was cited for misdemeanor theft last week in Sibley County. He allegedly stole cash from the register and a tip jar at Toody’s Sweet Treats and merchandise from First Choice Pharmacy in Henderson on May 1. [Source: The Free Press]Hasbro sends cops Play-Doh after product helps catch shoplifterA follow up to this month’s popular feature, You Can’t Make This Stuff up: Rhode Island-based toy company Hasbro sent a supply of its iconic Play-Doh to the Leicester Police Department this week after officers said the product helped catch a shoplifting suspect. Hasbro shipped several boxes of Play-Doh to the police department with a note lauding the department for finding a use for Play-Doh that the company had not come up with, The Telegram reported. The police department shared a picture of their Play-Doh haul on their Facebook page Wednesday. The thank you post read, “Today the LPD received a package from Hasbro filled with Play-Doh along with a nice note recognizing the work that LPD officers put into the Play-Doh fingerprint case. The Play-Doh will be used to put smiles on the faces of some children in our community. Very nice gesture by Hasbro!! Greatly appreciated!!”Hasbro’s Play-Doh account on Facebook responded to the post, “It was our pleasure. Keep up the great work!” Chief James Hurley says the force appreciates the recognition and will send a thank-you note to Hasbro, according to The Telegram. On December 11 Leicester police responded to Walmart after an employee found several anti-theft devices covered in Play-Doh in an attempt to silence them. Police said the suspect fled but left behind a fingerprint impression in the clay. The Play-Doh evidence was sent out for analysis and police said it led to the arrest of 55-year-old Dennis Jackson. Jackson was charged with unlawful removal of an anti-theft device. Police say he faces arrest warrants in at least two other states. [Source: WWLP22 News] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
Day two of the RILA Asset Protection conference featured another full agenda in the Mile High city. Check out EyeOnLP’s recap video as Megan Harris talks with key attendees and industry leaders, then read LP Magazine‘s exclusive coverage of day two of the event.Editor’s Note: In case you missed it, here’s LPM’s exclusive recap video of day one at RILA AP 2019.- Sponsor – Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now
The Fire phone’s 3D certainly looks different, and that’s thanks to the inclusion of four—yes four—front-facing cameras, one in each corner. These front-facing, infrared-capable, “ultra low power” cameras track a user’s head position in real-time on the x,y and z axes, in combination with the parallaxphenomenon and other perspective considerations, resulting in Amazon’s unique 3D experience. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces A Risky InvestmentIs dynamic perspective gimmicky? Ultimately, yes and no. The fancy lockscreen offers as much utility as iOS 7’s oft-untoggled 3D effects, but given Amazon’s inclusion of additional sensors there’s definitely opportunity there. Mobile game developers interested in investing in Amazon’s new platform could come up with some pretty cool experiences, though it’s far from clear they’ll feel like investing in a single proprietary platform like the Fire Phone.See also: Amazon Fire Phone’s First Big Mistake: Cooperating With AT&TEven if there are interesting opportunities for dynamic perspective on the horizon, Amazon’s choice to invest in sophisticated, undoubtedly pricey multi-camera head-tracking 3D system remains a head-scratcher. The Amazon we knew—the one that introduced the first Kindle Fire—would have skipped the fancy stuff and priced the Fire phone irresistibly low.The Fire phone’s 3D experience is neat—and provides some actual utility, unlike most 3D—but we’re not convinced that it’s more than the sum of its parts.And yes, for the record, you can toggle it off.All photos and video by Taylor Hatmaker for ReadWrite Another feature, hands-free scrolling, engaged by tilting the phone as it continues to track your head position, felt jerky and hyper-sensitive in our limited time testing the browser. The side menu gesture proved useful in maps, when peeking produced an overlay of location information, but we didn’t see too many other compelling applications for all of those fancy sensors—not yet, anyway. Still, without the need to occlude the UI with a touch gesture, it felt nice to have our screen real estate and eat it too.Beyond UI functionality, we had a little time to play a snowboarding game controlled via head tracking, but the controls were rough around the edges in spite of the very responsive head tracking experience we’d seen in the UI. That said, the whole idea is for the experience to be as immersive and natural as possible, and there was definitely a learning curve. taylor hatmaker It’s fair to call Amazon’s new Kindle Fire phone “3D”—but that sells the effect short compared to the 3D smartphone craze of yore and Apple’s dizzying iOS 7 antics. Amazon calls its 3D experience “dynamic perspective”—an apt if dull name for a pretty cool technical feat.After spending some time exploring the Fire phone, the resulting phenomenon remains difficult to describe, but we’ll give it a shot anyway.See also: Firefly Hands-On: 7 Ways Amazon’s Fire Phone Captures The Real WorldLike all virtual 3D, dynamic perspective takes advantage of the human brain to “trick” us into sensing an additional dimension on a two dimensional surface. But unlike early glasses-free (technically, autostereoscopic) 3D televisions and other experiments in simulating the third dimension, Amazon’s technology doesn’t create a “pop-out” effect so much as a pop-in one. On the lock screen, for example, it looks as though you could actually peek around the Fire phone’s corners into what’s inside.“We made special cameras that have a much wider field of view,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during the device’s launch event. “The key is knowing where the user’s head is at all times, in real time, many, many times a second.” Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement What Does Dynamic Perspective Do, Exactly?The Fire phone’s new kind of sensor data enables some new kinds of gestures, like tilting the screen to “peek” at additional context menus, which pop in from the side. A swivel gesture (kind of cocking the phone at a 90 degree angle) pulls up a menu of quick actions and notifications, which felt surprisingly natural. A strange but kind of fun little touch is how app icons turn toward you as you move your head, as if begging to be tapped. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts Tags:#3D#Amazon#Amazon Fire Phone#Fire OS#smartphones The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology