Outsourcing Law Enforcement Transcription

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

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

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

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

Security Concerns

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

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

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

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

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

Reeling Budget Considerations

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

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

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

The Real Benefit of Outsourcing Law Enforcement Transcription

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Viable Alternative

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

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

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

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

Are Your Circumstances Suitable for a Collaborative Divorce?

You may be suitable for a collaborative divorce if you seek:

  1. A dignified approach to handling your divorce
  2. A fair and non-aggressive resolution of issues based on the best interests of the family, not the individual
  3. Guidance, support and advice on legal issues without the threat of fighting in court.
  4. A chance to work through emotions and avoid misunderstandings to arrive at sound decisions
  5. To avoid the cost and emotional strain of court proceedings
  6. To keep your dispute and terms of your settlement confidential

How do I kick start the process?Contact a collaborative divorce lawyer. You must choose a lawyer trained in collaborative family law for the process to be effective. An experienced lawyer knows about the required documentation that can make process hassle free.

What happens when we reach agreement?

After you reach agreement, your lawyer can prepare divorce papers that the court is likely to approve.

What happens if the process breaks down?

You may explore other options such as mediation to avoid from going to court. However, if you do take your case to court, your collaborative lawyer cannot act on your behalf in court proceedings as they have signed an undertaking not to litigate.

What is the difference between the collaborative divorce process and court litigation?

Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process that gives divorcing parties control over the process, including the timetable. On the other hand, the litigation process is controlled by the judge and determined by court dates, and parties must comply with the court’s orders. Divorce Lawyers will facilitate direct negotiations between parties in collaborative divorce, working towards a common goal that is in the best interests of both parties and the family, and parties will be encouraged to consider short- and long-term impacts of their decisions. In litigation, both parties and lawyers are pitted against each other, and parties will bargain based on their own needs and rights. They will not be actively asked to think about the short- and long-term effects of their choices.

As can be seen, collaborative divorce allows the parties, instead of the judge, to make the final decisions. Due to this, however, there is no guaranteed settlement in collaborative divorce. If parties cannot reach a final decision, they will need to proceed with litigation. The process of collaborative divorce is confidential, but if parties enter into litigation, the records of Court proceedings will be publicly available.

Posted in Law

Important Facts About National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

The Purpose of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Since December is one the busiest months of the year full of winter holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are a lot more social events and late night get-to-gathers where alcohol is available. Sadly, driving under the influence is quite common during holiday season. Impaired driving puts drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk, and each year it claims the lives of thousands of Americans. In December, we observe National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to create more awareness on the issue.

Some Important Facts About This Month

It is reported that every year, around 30 million people drive while intoxicated and around 10 million drivers go behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.

Nearly 25 people a day were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010. Drinking and driving can be deadly, especially for teens.

Young adults (ages 21-34) are much more likely to die in a car crash after drinking alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, 28 people in the United States lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

In 2014, of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children (ages 0-14), nearly 19% involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

Drugs other than alcohol are also a factor for traffic accidents.

Effective Preventive Measures

Prevention starts with our sense of personal responsibility. It is high time that drivers, irrespective of their age, start thinking about how they can practice safe driving and re-evaluate their driving habits.

Conducting school programs and educating teens on how important it is NOT to get in the car with a driver who’s under the influence would be an effective solution.

Electronically monitoring repeat DWI offenders also appears to be effective. Ignition interlocks in cars prevent operation of the vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the specified level.

If you come across a possibly drunken driver on the road, immediately contact the police! Your timely action might save someone’s life.

Families play an essential role in putting an end to impaired driving. We should all educate our children about the risks involved in consuming alcohol or illicit drugs and especially how dangerous this is while driving.

If your holiday plans involve drinking liquor, make sure to always plan ahead for a safe ride home.

Every year, a higher volume of vehicles flood the roads. People rush to see their loved ones for the holidays and the odds of getting into a driving accident increase during these periods. While most people are well informed, there are still many other people who are not aware about how this easily avoidable problem could affect their loved ones. It is our personal duty to help people understand how dangerous this habit actually is.

Organize a local awareness campaign to explain the risks involved and how drinking and driving can affect families. Surprise the attendees with customized giveaways. Silicone wristbands are perfect for such campaigns because they are original, durable, long-lasting and inspiring. You can get them in different colors, fonts, sizes and styles. Wristbands carry messages. Choose from “Think and Drive”, “Never Drink and Drive” or come up with something of your own.

Posted in Law

How Digital Technologies Improve Filmmaking

Breaking into the current film industry holds a greater challenge compared to classic filmmaking. The digital era has certainly catered to the universal passion of moviemakers for making motion pictures. Today, digital technology changed the way how movies are made. Digital filmmaking opened new opportunities and possibilities to filmmakers of both small indie films and big budget blockbuster films. This also includes the same way that copyright infringement software protects these films. Therefore, if you’re a filmmaker, whatever outcome or type of film you want to accomplish, you can play around using the latest technological advances.

Digital Vs. Traditional

In general, films are extremely flammable yet they are quite expensive. Directors have to look for major studios that could invest a big amount needed to produce a movie. As for digital filmmaking, the digital motion picture cameras may be expensive, but it is a significant investment.

Digital filmmaking is a type of filmmaking where you use digital cameras or a computer to create characters, environments and other extensive features. Digital storage has reduced and simplified the costs of making movies. Compared to films, storage in digital cameras cost less, lasts longer and is safer. Over a long period of time, films degrade and will actually decompose. Improper storage and protection may destroy the print of the film which ultimately results to losing classic movies forever.

The move from celluloid to digital has opened up huge opportunities for special effects resulting to the growth of fantasy movies and science fiction. Film characters are not limited to explore only our world. Now, filmmakers have the tools to visually depict imaginary worlds with digital technology. Movies feature computer generated imagery (CGI) while some combine both CGI and live action using revolutionary new motion-capture techniques. As a result, movie creations are more out of this world than ever.

As we’ve gone digital, the public’s movie experience has become a lot different. In the past, everyone was used to watching films without color. Each motion picture was black and white. But at present, anyone can enjoy a movie in full color with surround sound. They can even have a 3D experience if they choose to. The number of options given to every movie goer is just one of the things that prove that filmmaking has really improved.

Aside from the internet, the widespread use and application of digital technologies are shaping the future of film. At present, the way movies are consumed and distributed has also changed. People can stream or download the videos, and with video-on-demand services like Netflix, everyone can watch their favorite shows and movies whenever they like. Unfortunately, some people choose to share copyrighted materials without the owners’ permission, which is illegal. When you download a movie, you are stealing from the content owner’s compensation. So, content owners and their partners use copyright infringement software to detect any digital piracy.

Posted in Law

Do I Need an Attorney for My Divorce?

Many couples debate whether they need a divorce attorney when mediation is required by the courts. It is recommended, at minimum, consulting with a family law attorney about your options and what is best course of action for your case no matter how well you and your ex-spouse get along.

Below you will find just a few examples of the aspects you need to consider if you are debating whether you should hire an attorney for your divorce:

  • If you have many complicated assets to divide up. If you have accumulated various expensive marital property, you should consider hiring a lawyer. You will want to have a lawyer present if you have complicated possessions you are dividing, like businesses, numerous vehicles, and real property.
  • If your spouse is prone to lying. If your former spouse is known to lie, it could become difficult when it is your word versus theirs in a hearing or mediation session. If they are spreading false information about you, or lying in the courtroom, you need a lawyer on your side to protect your interests.
  • If violence or abuse is ever involved. If any abuse is present, whether it’s related to children, substance abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, or any other form, you should always hire an attorney. Not only will the abused spouse not be able to negotiate properly for fear of manipulation or further abuse, but a family law attorney can help take the appropriate steps to protect you and your family.
  • If your spouse has hired an attorney. Your spouse may choose to hire a lawyer to represent themselves at the last minute. We see attorneys appear at hearings and mediation with little to no notice to the unrepresented spouse. If your spouse decides to have representation, you should as well. It will be difficult to make your case against a family law attorney, even if you believe you have a clear and reasonable argument.

There is so much at stake! If you are going through divorce and you are debating on whether you need to hire a divorce attorney, call and speak to a family law firm you trust in your area. An experienced attorney should answer the questions you have, discuss your options and your particular case to help you understand your options during divorce. A skilled lawyer may be an invaluable asset to protect your and your family interests.

Posted in Law

How To Become A Real Crime Scene Technician

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

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

Where to Begin Your Crime Scene Technician Training

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

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

Career Education Requirements

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

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

Criminal Justice Training

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

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

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

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

Employment Outlook and Opportunities

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

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

5 Things Divorcing Parents Should Know

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

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

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

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

India Tourist Visa Guidelines for Visa Extension

Longer extensions must be approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The process of applying for one can give you a bit of a grace period while they consider it. It’s important to note that if you stay in the country illegally beyond the period of your visa, you may face fines, deportation and/or up to five years in prison.

Visa conversions and extensions are handled by the MHA only between 10 A.M. and noon, Monday to Friday. The address for the main office is Foreigners’ Division, MHA, Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi. If you want to change your visa status from one category to another, you should go in person to the office. In case of serious illness, you can send a representative. If you aren’t in Delhi, go to the nearest Foreigners’ Registration Office (FRO), which will forward your case to the MHA for approval. Applications for extensions or conversions should be made a few months before your current visa expires, if possible.

In general, you can’t change the category of your visa while you are in India; e.g., if you are in India on a Tourist Visa, you can’t just decide to take up a job. In such a case, you have to go back to your own country to apply for a new visa. The MHA does have the authority to give you a different visa if there are extraordinary circumstances, but they rarely do it.

PIO Cards and OCI Status- If your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were Indian nationals, or if you are the spouse of an Indian citizen or PIO, or if you once held an India passport, you can get a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Card that is valid for 15 years. This card allows visa-free entry to PIOs living abroad, but you do have to register if you stay more than 180 days.

There is also a status called Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) that is available to PIOs or others who either are or were eligible for Indian citizenship at a certain time. This is not dual citizenship. Rather, it’s essentially a permanent visa that allows you to come and go as you wish and to stay as long as you like without registering. It gives you most of the privileges enjoyed by Indian citizens, except that you can’t vote, buy agricultural land, or hold certain public offices.

Exit Visa- If your passport is lost or stolen; you have gone to the FRRO so you can get your visa transferred to the new passport. Or you can get an Exit Visa, which will allow you a certain number of days in which to leave the country legally. Without one or the other, you won’t be able to leave India. To get an Exit Visa, you need to present your new passport, a letter from your embassy giving details of the lost or stolen passport, and the original police report, as well as proof of date of entry into India (i.e., your boarding pass, a letter from the airline on which you arrived verifying date and place for your arrival in India, or a photocopy of your visa and entry stamp).

Special Permits- In order to visit certain restricted or protected areas, including the Andaman Islands, Lakshadweep, parts of Ladakh, and some of the Northeastern States, you will need a special permit. Some permits (excluding Inner Line permits for border areas of Ladakh, which take only a day) may take a week or two to get, so you should apply well in advance. You can get permits come Sikkim from embassies and consulates abroad before you come, or the Foreigners’ Registration Offices in India, and in Darjeeling and Siliguri, as well as at certain major airports.

Posted in Law

DUI Breathalyzer Accuracy

Anyone that has been stopped and arrested for a DUI charge is likely to find the entire process to be very difficult and stressful. Plus, with the reported increase in accidents involving drivers under the influence of alcohol or illegal substance, the authorities are making every effort to prosecute all offenders. In order to prove a person is driving under the influence, the law enforcement official that made the stop has a choice of asking the driver to take a roadside sobriety test or use a breathalyzer. A first course of action may be the sobriety test which involves simple tests like walking in a straight line, lifting one foot off the ground, touch the tip of your nose, etc.

But, these tests aren’t entirely reliable and the most common option used is the breathalyzer. A field breathalyzer is quick to use and basically involves breathing air into a device that is analyzed to determine whether of not the driver has consumed too much alcohol to be on the road.

While the breath analysis is the favored method to test the concentration of blood alcohol in a roadside stop, they are nowhere near as reliable or accurate as blood tests. But, for the case of DUI investigations, it is seen as an acceptable option, provided it is administered in the correct fashion.

The breathalyzer tests aren’t complicated and a useful piece of portable kit to analyze a sample, but the result generated by this device may not be as reliable as the authorities would like you to believe. In fact, it has been reported that neither the spectroscopic BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test nor the breathalyzer test is 100% trustworthy. This mostly relates to alcohol not affecting everyone the same, with many people able to consume quite a lot and still not be drunk.

Even though the test can give a positive indication that the BAC reading is high, this doesn’t actually confirm the driver was under the influence of alcohol while in control of their vehicle.

Scientific studies have taken place in relation to the accuracy of the breath alcohol tests, and their conclusion was that they are inherently unreliable. These studies have indicated that the breath readings can be up to 15% outside of the true blood alcohol levels.

So, in the event of being stopped for a DUI charge, you don’t really want the result from a breathalyzer to be the defining factor that determines the sentence issued. The best course of action is to get in touch with a skilled and reputable DUI attorney who is able to use their knowledge of the law to help fight this offense.

A DUI charge is a serious offense that has the potential to lead to a variety of legal consequences, which can include a period of prison time, attending alcohol or drug awareness classes, taking part in community service, having to pay a high fine, or the loss of your driver’s license. There are situations where the sentence given is more severe, such as having a minor on-board at the time or not being a first offense.

In the approach to defend the DUI charge that involves a breath analysis, any qualified criminal defense lawyer will be aware that there could be several operational and theoretical issues. There are a variety of factors that can lead to the results of blood-alcohol analysis being regarded as unreliable, and attempt to show that this type of data isn’t enough to prosecute. By using a lawyer it is possible to get the get outcome with a case either closed or a sentence kept to a minimum.

Posted in Law

Cost Effective Law Enforcement Aerial Patrol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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