Photos: Inside The NYPD’s New “Domain Awareness” Surveillance HQ

By Christopher Robbins in  on August 8, 2012 5:10 PM

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This afternoon the NYPD debuted their “all-seeing” Domain Awareness System, which syncs the city’s 3,000 closed circuit camera feeds in Lower Manhattan, Midtown, and near bridges and tunnels with arrest records, 911 calls, license plate recognition technology, and even radiation detectors. Mayor Bloomberg dismissed concerns that this represented the most glaring example of Big Brother-style policing. “What you’re seeing is what the private sector has used for a long time,” Bloomberg said. “If you walk around with a cell phone, the cell phone company knows where you are…We’re not your mom and pop’s police department anymore.”

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly stated that the system, which is currently operational out of the department’s Lower Manhattan Security Commission HQ, was developed with a “state of the art privacy policy” and “working with the privacy community,” but did not offer specifics. DAS does not have facial recognition technology at this time, but “it’s something that’s very close to being developed,” the mayor said.

The system was developed with Microsoft and paid for by the city for $30 to $40 million, and has already been in use for six months. The feeds compiled by the system are kept for thirty days, then erased.

In a live demonstration of DAS, the NYPD’s director of policy and planning for counterterrorism, Jennifer Tisch, showed reporters how the system responded to a recent report of a suspicious package. A description of the package (a closed “Jack Daniels” box) was shown next to its location. Video feeds within 500 feet of the package’s location that showed the location several minutes before the package was reported to police, so that the system’s operator could determine who or what placed the package there.

In another example, a radioactive isotope—Technetium-99—was detected and the officer at the helm is shown a description of the isotope. “I want to stress that this isotope has both medical and industrial uses,” Tisch said, before adding that it would be the officer’s judgement call as to whether the isotope meant that it was a terrorist threat or someone who had recently undergone “some sort of medical procedure,” as the mayor put it. “It takes some judgement to use technology,” Bloomberg added, presumably including on-the-spot radiography in his assertion.

Reports of suspicious cars can be followed up with license-plate scanners, which will track and beam back the location of the vehicle to the system so that the police can follow it in real-time—video feeds will also show delayed images to help the officers determine if the car is in a caravan. Arrest and driving records are shown alongside the camera image. “This system is the ultimate in domain awareness,” Tisch said.

Regarding the department’s recent request for information from Twitter for a threat made by one of its users, Kelly said that social media monitoring “is not done at this location,” and that “[The NYPD] only monitors social media for specific investigations. That’s the world we live in.”

The City will receive 30% on the profits Microsoft will make selling it to other cities, although Mayor Bloomberg declined to say if that money would go back into the NYPD. “Maybe we’ll even make a few bucks.”

Gothamist

The Moment I Knew: Readers Share Their Divorce Stories

Ashley Reich

Was there a moment you knew your marriage was over? The split-second you saw the writing on the wall–even if you didn’t acknowledge as much until later? We put the question to the Twitter-verse (hashtag:#themomentiknew), and collected our favorite responses below (and the most surprising–who knew bacon could figure in the demise of a lifelong union?)

Add your own favorites to the list by taking a screenshot and clicking the “Add a Slide” button.

Continue Reading Huffington Post

Dealing With The Paparazzi

The news is out — you’re getting a divorce. For many couples, breaking the news to friends and family is the toughest part of the process. How you go about it sets the stage for the future. Welcome your parents’ and well-meaning friends’ support, but stand firm. They should respect your privacy and not pry. Understand, however, that once the news is out, your divorce is in the public domain.

So what are you going to say when you get all those phone calls and emails?

Here are a few suggestions:

    • Script your responses to the obvious questions. Stick to the party line, and make sure your parents, kids, colleagues, etc. are on the same page in terms of what you want them to say.
    • Don’t make headlines by dumping on the in-law(s). You will do more damage than good by stoning his or her whole bloodline.
    • Think about your kids when you spread the news. Think about them again and again and again, and put yourself in their place.
    • Forget about private confidences. There is no such thing as “keep it under your hat.” Hats blow off in the wind.
    • Return phone calls when you aren’t angry or tired and likely to ramble.
    • Avoid daily updates.
    • Practice switch-hit topics. Have a ready list — the movie you saw, your vacation plans, your uncle’s hernia operation.
    • Practice deep breathing for those who want the itty-bitty details. There’s nothing like a long pause to get the point across. “I really don’t want to discuss this any further.”
    • Distract yourself. My aunt has a great technique. If you have to talk to someone who is going to get your goat, keep a coloring book handy and focus on staying within the lines.

Can’t keep from exploding or perseverating? Sit down and write (in long-hand) every nasty thought you ever had about the ex. Read the letter out loud (to yourself) and then put it in the safe deposit box for good.

Job Posting – Insurance Field Investigator (Maryland)

Part Time Surveillance Insurance Claims Investigator (With the possibility to work Full Time in the future.)

Duties: Video surveillance and report writing

Must own a vehicle with tinted windows, computer and high-definition camcorder.Candidate should have a clean record and no criminal history.Candidates should have a minimum of 2 years experience as a field investigator or college degree in Criminal Justice.

Candidate should have excellent report writing skills.

We cover all of Maryland. Investigators must be willing to travel.

Please submit cover letter and resume.

ICORP Investigations 

Why I Believe Marriage Shouldn’t Be Allowed Before Age 25

By Jennifer Nagy
6/4/12

Age is just a number… except when it comes to marriage.

Let’s look at my stats:
Current age – 29
Divorced for – 8 months
Separated for – 1 year, 9 months
Age when I met my ex – 19
Age when I married – 24

Which brings me to my point: couples should not be allowed to get married before age 25.

While I know that this statement is going to make me very unpopular with readers, I do believe that it would be for the best — better both for the institution of marriage and the individuals getting married — if we could change the law to prevent couples from getting married before the age of 25.

In my experience, marriage before 25 was not the smartest idea. I met my ex at the tender young age of 19 (just a few months after my birthday). I was enjoying the freedom of drinking and partying legally for the first time (I live in Canada where the drinking age is 19). I had yet to figure out who I was or what I wanted in my life. I was naïve and impressionable, and when I met my much older ex, I was perfectly happy to let him take control of my life, creating a relationship dynamic that continued for the nine years we were together.

We decided to get married when I was 24. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time because everyone knows that after five years, you should be married or at least engaged, right? It was definitely the message that I was getting from all of our friends. So we took the plunge, getting married on the beach in Miami Beach in front of our friends and family.

That’s where the problems began. Once the excitement of planning a beach wedding was over, after the suntan had faded, I was left simply living my life with my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him — and a part of me always will. But because we had started dating at such a young age, he was marrying someone who had absolutely no idea who she was and what she wanted in her life. In short, it was a recipe for divorce.

People under the age of 25 are still discovering themselves; they are figuring out what is most important in their lives. They are discovering the joys (and heartache) of being in a relationship, and then the partying that often characterizes life between relationships. They are figuring out what their relationship “deal-breakers” are and who their most appropriate partners would be. While a person may be 100 percent certain that they love something — or someone — at the age of 21, by 29, they will most likely completely change their mind. Life is anything but certain.

My opinions are based solely on my personal experiences and the experiences of the people that I know and have observed. That being said, marriage and divorce statistics do support my claim. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 60 percent of marriages in which the couple marries between age 20 and 25 will end in divorce. A scary figure for young lovebirds… but definitely one that validates my opinion.

Who knows? Maybe there are 20-year-olds that get married and stay madly in love for their whole lives. Maybe puppy love can last forever.

Could be. Maybe there is such thing as fairies and unicorns too.

Just saying…

Huffington Post

Job Posting – P/T Field Investigator (NY & NJ Area)

Part Time Surveillance Insurance Claims Investigator (With the possibility to work Full Time in the future.)

Duties: Video surveillance and report writing

Must own a vehicle with tinted windows, computer and high-definition camcorder.Candidate should have a clean record and no criminal history.Candidates should have a minimum of 2 years experience as a field investigator or college degree in Criminal Justice.

Candidate should have excellent report writing skills.

We cover all of New York and New Jersey. Investigators must be willing to travel.

Please submit cover letter and resume.

ICORP Investigations Website 

Job Posting – New York Insurance Field Investigator

Part Time Surveillance Insurance Claims Investigator  (With the possibility to work Full Time in the future.)

Must own a vehicle, computer and high-definition camcorder.

Candidate should have a clean record.

Candidates should have a minimum of 2 years experience as a field investigator.

Candidate should have excellent report writing skills.

Starting salary $18.00 an hour plus miles

Please send your resume to pi@icorpinvestigations.com. For more information, please visit our website ICORP Investigations Website. 

Having a Sane Vacation When There is Trouble in Paradise

Co-founders, Divorce Detox™

When a marriage is on the verge of divorce, there is an early stage in the process where change is imminent, but normalcy needs to be maintained for the children. Children depend on structure, ritual and consistency, so parents must keep the family ball rolling even in the face of the despair and confusion they may be experiencing.

Sitting through family dinners with gritted teeth, putting on a happy face for friends and family, and biting their tongues in front of the kids are just a few of the ways couples keep up the marital façade. Parents go to these lengths partly because normalcy is a distraction from the uncertainty that comes with separation, and partly because routine is often the only glue holding a fragile situation together. This is not an easy life to live, and it becomes even more challenging when these tactics have to be maintained through a family vacation.

If a vacation has been planned prior to the split, canceling may be an option. However, the commitment to going often far outweighs the discomfort that comes with vacationing within the confines of an expired marriage. In addition, the financial cost of canceling can be perceived as being much higher than the emotional cost of going. If you are one of the many couples facing an untimely family vacation, don’t worry. There are many ways to make the best of an imperfect vacation situation.

Here are some tips to have a good family vacation when there is trouble in paradise:

Plan ahead

While spontaneous vacations are fun and adventurous, they can even create conflict amongst couples who are discord-free. Knowing how things will unfold and planning things out in advance will help you avoid any unpredictable pitfalls. Decide ahead of time who will be in charge of what. For example, if the trip is to a city where you will be exploring, pick days where each parent will be the tour guide. Fighting over directions or getting lost can easily push hot buttons that create unnecessary conflict. Planning the days out with schedules and specific spots to visit or eat will eliminate standing on a street corner in a state of indecision and agitation. Get on the same page before the trip even starts.

Leave issues behind
If you are someone who holds a grudge, this would be a good time to let things go for a bit. Bringing marital baggage on the trip will weigh everyone down. There are inevitably going to be things that bug each of you throughout your vacation. Remember that you can convey how you feel with a look as much as your voice, so be mindful of rolling eyes, or glaring stares. Setting an intention before you leave for your trip about how you will maintain a sense of peace for the family would be a good idea. Double beds in the room can do wonders.

Set expectations
Many families have very unrealistic expectations of family vacations in general. This leaves everyone vulnerable to disappointment when things don’t go the way everyone imagined. When a marriage is rocky or even over, expectations need to be even more realistic. For example, expecting to spend tons of quality time as a family might not be possible this time around. It’s also unrealistic to expect all of your problems to disappear the minute you arrive at your destination. Let things unfold and find an organic rhythm. Be open to accepting whatever the vacation looks like or turns out to be. Overly high expectations are a sure fire way to feel chronically disappointed.

Use the kids as a buffer
Most couples do this anyway, but your kids can really ease a tense dynamic. We are not implying that your child be used as a pawn, but children can be a good distraction from having to be intimate or spending too much time one on one. Don’t be afraid to tag team with each parent taking one kid, or taking turns getting some alone time while one parent fills in. Children are pretty perceptive so if you are having trouble being pleasant or even civil with your partner around, it might be best to spend time with the kids on your own.

Keep the conversation light
Bringing up heavy issues, or trying to talk things through while on vacation can be complicated. There is nowhere to go if someone wants to walk out and raised voices are not usually welcome in hotels or public places. It’s better not to risk a blow up, so conversations should remain topical and fairly superficial. If issues come up, and they will, write them down. You can even journal about your feelings. It’s not about pretending nothing bothers you, the idea is to tuck it away temporarily. It doesn’t have to be unrealistic or inauthentic. You can commit to simply being aware of your actions, behaviors and moods so you aren’t unconsciously punishing each other without realizing it. If things don’t shift for the better on the trip, you will have plenty of opportunity to revisit any unresolved issues when you return. Think of your vacation as a big time out.

Take space for yourself
Taking time to oneself is important on any vacation. Couples, especially divorcing ones, often feel that they need to be together 24-7 on vacation “for the kids”, but you each deserve to have some rejuvenation time on your own. Everyone needs some self-nurturing and personal space, particularly when going through a challenging time. Doing this will make many things on the trip more tolerable, and will increase your patience for the inevitable stress that comes with family traveling.

Contemplate and self-reflect
Traveling inevitably shifts perspectives and changes perceptions. Getting out of your daily routine and environment provides a great opportunity to see things more clearly. Use your travel experience as a springboard for enlightenment. This might even be a time to start brainstorming about your future, but keep it light and positive. Avoid focusing or ruminating on “all that you have to do” when you get back.

What are your own tips for traveling when there is trouble in paradise?

Huffington Post

Job Posting – Insurance Claims Investigator for New Jersey

Private Investigators

Part Time Surveillance Insurance Claims Investigator  (With the possibility to work Full Time in the future.)

Must own a vehicle, computer and high-definition camcorder.

Candidate should have a clean record.

Candidates should have a minimum of 2 years experience as a field investigator.

Candidate should have excellent report writing skills.

Starting salary $18.00 an hour plus miles

Please send your resume to pi@icorpinvestigations.com. For more information, please visit our website ICORP Investigations

Concealing Information From Your Divorce Lawyer

 

This family lawyer presents eye-opening “real life” examples of how concealing information during divorce can backfire.

By Joseph Cordell, Esq.

We tell our clients that the most valuable thing they have in their case is their credibility — their credibility with their lawyer, with their children, with social workers or the GAL, and especially with the judge. “The moment your credibility is called into question, even slightly, is the moment you start to lose ground in your case,” we warn. “The judge has only a very short period of time to get to know you and form an impression of you. If the judge hears one inconsistency, one lie or untruth, it colors everything else you have to say.”

Of course, sometimes a client might honestly forget about a tiny retirement savings plan from three jobs and 15 years ago, or about a small plot of property in the woods that his great-aunt left him 20 years ago. But don’t try to tell your lawyer — or a judge — that you forgot about that offshore bank account you set up two years ago, or about your part-time job as a carpenter. And even if it’s an honest mistake, it makes you look bad if the other side’s lawyer brings up something you have not mentioned. If your wife knows about it, she probably told her lawyer. At trial is not the time to find out that she paid better attention to your financial affairs than you thought she did.

Two Types of Men

Some clients don’t provide any information at all. Two types of men seem to fall in this category. One type doesn’t want a divorce. We tell them what we need, over and over, but they simply don’t give it to us. They think that if they don’t hand over that bank statement or don’t produce those tax records, maybe this whole nightmare will go away. They’re in denial, and thereby denying their lawyer time to review the information and plan the case. Further, they are only delaying the inevitable; opposing counsel will obtain the information by subpoena eventually.

The other men who drag their feet on providing information are the high-flyers, often professionals or executives. Maybe they don’t like the idea of someone telling them what to do when we insist that they “get those records for us.” Maybe they think it’s beneath them; that it’s something that an administrative assistant should handle. Well, we don’t care. Have an administrative assistant handle it. Just get it to us. If you say you can’t find your bank records, we can contact the bank and get them for you, but it is going to cost you time and money, and add significantly to your legal fees. (Most lawyers really do work hard to keep fees down. We profit more by keeping fees down and getting more referrals than by running up avoidable costs.)

I’ve had men try to hide their gambling problems, or “forget” to mention that little detail about a DWI arrest. Inevitably, those things come back to bite us — and surprise us, to make matters worse — at a trial. If your wife knows something about you, then you’d better assume her lawyer is going to know it, too. And if your wife and her lawyer know something about you, they may use it against you. If you once threw a shoe at your wife, I want to know about it — even if you missed her on purpose — because she might cite that as an example of your violent tendencies. If you once said, “I wish I was dead,” I want to know, because she could claim you are suicidal. If you once stuck a few free samples of Claritin in your pocket in the examining room when your doctor’s back was turned, I want to know, because she might cite it as an example of your dishonesty or your reliance on drugs. You might think those are ridiculous examples, but they’re not. Your lawyer needs to know anything and everything your wife might say about you to hurt you or your case.

Even if you are sure it’s something your wife doesn’t know about, tell us anyway. I once had a client who was absolutely sure his wife did not know about a bank account he kept secretly on the side. He had used the money in the account to fund a number of affairs over the years, paying for dinners, drinks, and hotel rooms with his girlfriends. If the client had told me about the bank account, we would have had to include it in the financial statements, and his soon-to-be-ex-wife would have been entitled to half of the money in the account. But the client didn’t tell me. He figured there was no way his wife could have found out about it. But she did. One of his ex-girlfriends was angry with him for dumping her, and she told the wife about the account. The wife’s lawyer sprung it on us in court. As often happens when a judge finds out that a guy is trying to hide assets, the judge awarded the entire amount in the account to the wife.

It’s Not Always “Case Closed” After the Decree

Some men think that if they can hide an asset until the divorce decree becomes final, they’re in the clear. Not so. I had a client who sold a lot of stock when he realized a divorce was on the horizon. He sprinkled the proceeds into a bunch of bank accounts here and there. He disclosed a couple of the accounts, but not all. His wife’s lawyer hired financial consultants — which is not unusual in cases involving a lot of money or complicated holdings — to go through the books. The consultants found almost everything, except for a couple of offshore accounts that had a combined total of about $100,000. I asked the client if what the wife’s consultants found was everything and he said yes. The two sides reached a settlement that was approved by the court, and the case was closed. The client figured he had saved himself about $50,000, since his wife hadn’t found the $100,000 in offshore accounts and avoided having to give her half.

About six months later, a statement from an offshore investment house came to the client’s former home address, where his ex-wife still lived. Puzzled, she handed it to her lawyer. Her lawyer handed it to the financial consultants, who quickly tracked down the account. My client was busted. He came dragging back to me crying for help, but there was nothing I could do. He had lied to his wife, the financial consultants, to the court, and to me, his lawyer. The ex-wife’s lawyer petitioned the court and the case was re-opened. The settlement decree was altered and my former client was ordered to give his ex-wife an additional $100,000 plus her lawyer fees in reopening the case. Why lie and risk losing not only your self-respect but twice as much as it would cost you to tell the truth?

Nothing but the Truth MEANS Nothing but the Truth

Speaking of perjury, clients do ask us about that. Sometimes they have done something wrong, and they want to know if it’s all right to shade the truth while under oath. I think they expect us to wink at them, or give them some sort of signal that it’s okay because this happens all the time in court. Well, we’re not going to do that. We’re not going to encourage or endorse or in any way approve any sort of testimony that is not accurate. Under oath, in response to questioning from your wife’s lawyer, you can answer the questions as narrowly and precisely. But you must tell “nothing but the truth.”

We were recently involved in a case where the wife was independently wealthy, an heiress, and she was asked questions specifically about her trust fund. The heiress answered artfully. She made it sound as if the trust fund was her sole source of income, about $500,000 a year. When it eventually came out on cross-examination that the heiress actually had two other trust funds paying her more than $1 million a year, she ended up paying through the nose, and her lawyer ended up on the wrong end of an ethics investigation.

Revenge and Punishment: Two Traps

Men often misjudge the importance of one particular fact: cheating wives. As lawyers, we try to be sympathetic and listen. We know it’s tough any time someone you love has betrayed you and wants to leave you for someone else. You were good enough for her once, but not anymore. She’s found someone better. That used to matter much more, years ago, in divorce law. If one party committed adultery, that party was at fault, and that was cause for divorce. But things have changed. Many states have no-fault divorce, and even states that still ascribe fault tend to downplay infidelity. In truth, in most divorce cases, and especially in terms of dividing the property, the law and the courts don’t much care if somebody had an affair as long as the children weren’t harmed or marital funds weren’t misused.

But some guys can’t get over it. They want revenge. They need to make it public, they need to punish her, and they need to make her suffer. I remember we had one client who simply couldn’t let it go. “This is the worst thing she could have done to me,” he told us. “Killing me would have been better.” He said this made her a horrible person and a horrible parent. He wanted full custody and wanted her to see their kids as little as possible. It took the judge about two minutes to shoot down that whole rationale. Having an affair typically doesn’t mean the mom is a bad parent. It means she fell out of love, or she found someone else. It happens, it’s human. The law has become less and less interested in the emotional side of divorce and more and more focused solely on the contractual aspects. If that client had been running the case, he probably would have showed himself to be angry and irrational; his wife might have won full custody. Instead, we finally got him to focus a little on other aspects of his wife’s life — she mishandled their money, she kept getting fired from jobs, she didn’t get along with his parents — and we built on a series of small things to the point where we were able to get the guy shared custody.

Sometimes in divorce cases both parties have skeletons that they’d like to keep in the closet, and they tacitly agree not to bring them up. She won’t mention that he hit her, and he won’t mention that he hit her because she was waving a butcher knife. I once had a client who told me that he and his soon-to-be-ex had been swingers. They would go to parties where they’d swap partners with other couples and have sex orgies, sometimes with multiple partners over the course of the evening, one after another, and sometimes multiple partners at once, threesomes and foursomes. His soon-to-be-ex told her lawyer, too. They were involved in a custody battle, but everybody sort of reached an unspoken agreement not to mention the wife-swapping — “don’t ask, don’t tell” — since both were equally involved. It never came up during the proceedings. I’ve got to tell you, though, that throughout the proceedings, the soon-to-be-exes often looked at each other with blazing, angry eyes, and then looked away. I wondered if they were thinking (a) hey, I could destroy him or her if I told about the wife-swapping, and then, (b) oops, I’d be destroying myself, too. It was like a staredown. I, for one, was glad neither of them blinked.

The bottom line is that we know it’s impossible for a client to tell his lawyereverything. A wife might bring up something the husband said seven years earlier in the heat of an argument, and it hadn’t made any difference then or any time since then. But she might bring it up. The important thing is for a man going through divorce to at least hit the highlights of things that might work against him, and then let the lawyer explore the various topics if necessary. If you cheated on your taxes or with another woman, tell your lawyer. If you sometimes holler or sometimes get sullen, tell your lawyer.

Don’t make a stupid mistake: Tell your lawyer everything that might work against you.


This article has been edited and excerpted from the book The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce And How To Avoid Them by Joseph Cordell, Esq. Copyright © 2010. Published by Three Rivers Press. Joseph Cordell is founder, with his wife, Yvonne, of Cordell & Cordell, P.C., one of the leading law firms in United States representing men in family law cases. He is also the creator of http://www.DadsDivorce.com. For more information, visit http://www.cordellcordell.com.

Divorcemag.com


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