Transcript: David Brower: Thanks Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 Minute Podcast. Our special guest today is Larry Forletta, investigative security consultant. Larry’s comprised a team of experts with over 100 years of combined investigative experience and many of their team members have been trained entire law enforcement agencies, government officials, members of the U.S. military, on and on and on. Quite an operation you have there sir. How are you Larry?
Larry Forletta: Thanks David, and thanks for inviting me to your show today.
David Brower: You bet. Good to have you here. Some of the things that you … First of all, you provide a private investigator service and I assume you have clients all over the country, all over the world? How’s your business spread out?
Larry Forletta: Yeah. Well most of our business is literally throughout the United States and we have some overseas components that we’ve been involved with. A lot of it comes back through my background. As you know, I’m a former DEA agent, Drug Enforcement Administration. My law enforcement background was as a DEA agent and of course my experience training the Maryland State Police, with a combined total time of close to 30 years of training and experience.
David Brower: Fantastic. How long has your business been rolling?
Larry Forletta: Now my business is about 12 years old now. We started in October of 2006 when I retired from DEA, and we’ve been going pretty steady ever since.
David Brower: Good for you. Good for you. Folks, there’s a lot of things here and you can look on the website. It’s fcisllc.com. Everything from due diligence and surveillance, handwriting analysis, intellectual property protection, workplace investigations, drug investigations, polygraph exams, background checks, skip tracing, holy buckets, document analysis, law enforcement administrative procedures, and child custody. I mean you got a lot of bases covered here for people’s needs.
Larry Forletta: Yeah, we purposely did that because we wanted to become like a one stop shop where we could offer a variety of services through a collective team effort. Obviously nobody can ever be successful without the group that you work with, and that’s been my motto since I started my law enforcement career, working with others. Once you’ve worked with others, then you become successful. That’s how a lot of our investigations become successful because of working with others.
David Brower: Well and I would think the other people that you are teamed with, first and foremost, have to be on the same page with you as far as how things are conducted and operated and all that, but it has to be like the highest integrity possible for this kind of work.
Larry Forletta: Oh, there’s no question. The group that I associate myself with are all former professionals, whether they were in law enforcement, or the military, or government. So yeah, we strive on integrity. That’s the key to our success because without integrity you have no investigation.
David Brower: Absolutely right. Yeah, and to have this going for 12 years just in and of itself speaks highly of your integrity and your ability to help folks out. One of the things that we hear about way too much is security in schools, and school shootings, and those kinds of things, risk assessment. You get involved in those kinds of conversations?
Larry Forletta: Yes I have. I’ve actually done some risk assessments for some local school districts some time ago as well as some other areas where we have come in and placed our recommendations on the security measures that should be in place. So yeah, we do that.
David Brower: Nice. You’re able to do that anywhere in the country really?
Larry Forletta: Yeah. I mean basically we can go anywhere where the client has a need.
David Brower: Okay.
Larry Forletta: We definitely travel throughout the U.S. and work with, depending on the type of case that we’re investigating, I mean I have a substantial network of professionals throughout the country and overseas. Again, that goes back to my background, to my career, of having those type of contacts. A lot of times it’s easier just to pick up the phone and call somebody without having to find out somebody through the internet.
David Brower: Yeah, absolutely. To recreate the wheel, that’s just not productive for sure. Unfortunately that’s what a lot of us do. When you’re talking with schools, do you talk with school districts, individual schools, how does that work?
Larry Forletta: Well I’ve talked to both, the school districts and individual schools. At one point in time I did an in-service presentation for a school district back when the unfortunate incident of Columbine took place.
David Brower: That’s just down the road from me.
Larry Forletta: Yeah, that’s right. That’s where you’re at. Okay.
David Brower: Yup.
Larry Forletta: Yeah, so when you look at the big picture from Columbine, yes some things have changed, but a lot has not. We’re still seeing things, unfortunate killing of our children throughout the country.
David Brower: Absolutely. In fact, there were, I saw something on the news just a couple of nights ago where they were talking about I think we might be up to 20 school shootings this year. It’s impossible to keep track of unfortunately. But one of the things they said was as big as Columbine was, and still is in the hearts and minds of many people here in Colorado and associated with that school and those people, in today’s environment it wouldn’t even make the top 10.
Larry Forletta: Oh without a doubt.
David Brower: That’s terrifying.
Larry Forletta: It is terrifying. I think we’re doing a lot of talking about it, but we need to take action. Not tomorrow, but yesterday because now that the kids are going to be getting out of school, it’s going to be up to the administrators along with the community and law enforcement and government to have a plan in place when they come back from their summer break. Some schools have already taken those issues, but again, we need to have a comprehensive plan to make sure that we ensure the safety of our kids and we prevent these type of issues. Not reacting, but be proactive in preventing it. That’s one of the problems, and that’s usually one of the problems of crime in general. Law enforcement is reactive instead of a proactive. The best description I can tell you is that the Israelians, who I think should be the model of security, have probably one of the best systems in the world.
David Brower: I’ll be darned.
Larry Forletta: They are proactive versus reactive. They have safe schools. They have one of the safest airlines, if not the most safest airline in the world. That tells you about the effort because they were put in a position quite a while ago to protect themselves, and you can see that it worked. But we have to take those types of measures.
David Brower: And when you look at that wouldn’t you think wow there’s a blueprint, why can’t we just do that, or even a moderation of that, or even put your toe in the water and work towards that, or something instead of just … It seems like there’s so much, gosh I don’t want to be critical, but it really seems like there’s so much talk and very little action. As a parent and grandparent, I find it very frustrating.
Larry Forletta: Well yeah. I think most of the people that I talk to that are parents or grandparents are frustrated because … In fact, I just had a conversation with a parent last night about security measures being taken at one of the local school districts. They’re still confused in what is the best way to make the system work and prevent anything from happening. But I think sometimes we focus on the wrong reasons instead of for the right reasons, and we should be looking at the individuals versus the system itself because the individuals are the ones that cause the problem.
David Brower: Absolutely. And the individuals seem to be so different in socioeconomic, education, mental health, young, not so old. I mean there doesn’t seem to be a cookie cutter approach to these kids.
Larry Forletta: Well I think the most evident part of the whole thing is it’s usually the students themselves that are committing the crimes. It’s not people from the outside as I think that’s what the security is preparing for. The first start that I always recommend is metal detectors. You can have all the nice printout badges to put on visitors and all that, but that really doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s prevention before somebody walks through that door. It’s a known fact that these killers are the kids themselves.
David Brower: Absolutely right. And even, for those of you who are so naïve about this stuff, that’s one of the things that very obvious is it’s for the most part it’s the kids themselves, in the school shootings at least. There certainly there are others that is a whole different conversation. You would think that metal detectors alone could be a deterrent, just I’m not even, no way I’m going in there.
Larry Forletta: Well that is a big deterrent, but I think everybody looks at the cost involved in putting any kind of security measure in there, but I mean how do you value somebody’s life.
David Brower: Well that’s right.
Larry Forletta: Then how do you value some child’s life.
David Brower: Or multiple.
Larry Forletta: And it is multiple children that are being murdered, so we have to really prioritize, in my view, as one of the number one security measures that has to be done within this country. I think we have to look at not only at the government, but they consider this a local matter, but there should be more government assistance being provided, whether they’re in forms of grants, because a lot of our school districts are financially strapped.
David Brower: You bet.
Larry Forletta: In Pennsylvania we are, in Florida they’re not. The state of Florida can provide some funding to all the school districts. I know they’re going to provide close to half a million dollars. But when you look at Pennsylvania it doesn’t have that type of income and revenue to support what Florida is doing.
David Brower: Yeah. So do you see in the future in places like Pennsylvania, and there’s certainly a lot of states like that that are, I mean you see every day the teachers with their red t-shirts on just trying to make a living so they don’t have to have three or four jobs, or don’t have to kick in $500 or $600 a year out of their own pocket to help with these kids, when you see these strapped states and strapped communities, do you see a grassroots kind of thing building anywhere?
Larry Forletta: Well that’s I guess also another day because there’s the politics involved in that, and so we don’t want to use the security as a platform for politics.
David Brower: True.
Larry Forletta: We need to use security as a platform for the safety of our children. Of course, obviously we want to see our teachers taken care of. I mean they do a great job and you can just see what happened recently when the teacher became a human shield and ran after the person in the school and shot him in Indiana. He saved a lot of kids.
David Brower: Absolutely. A lot of schools, or at least, again this is perception, but it seems like a lot of schools have resource officers that are purportedly trained and equipped to help schools with these kinds of things. You hear some of them being very successful and some of them not. Are those kinds of position, are they valuable?
Larry Forletta: Oh, listen there’s no doubt that they are extremely valuable. Training, experience, all matters. Unfortunately, what we saw happen in Florida was the law enforcement, who in my view and a lot of other people, is a coward. He turned tail and ran, but there’s other offices though and 99% of them would have ran toward the problem-
David Brower: Absolutely.
Larry Forletta: And not hide from the problem. Yeah, training and experience does matter. I do believe in the resource officer program. I think we need more of them in our schools, and I think this is where the grants and the government grants can come into play by putting professionals. We can’t afford to put 65 or 68 year old security guards in schools-
David Brower: Right.
Larry Forletta: And expect them to react. We have a lot of law enforcement people that are retired, still young enough, some of them in their late 40s, early 50s, who could participate in these programs, they could be hired. But we, if you want the professional, then you have to have the professional that’s not only trained, but well fit to perform the job.
David Brower: There you go. Well and that goes back to a lot of things. That goes back to training of course, physical healthy capabilities, mental capabilities. I mean you really have to have the whole package to have a good opportunity for success with these folks don’t you?
Larry Forletta: There’s no question about it. I think what needs to be done in the school districts collectively, because schools have psychologists, they have counselors, they have student boards, those would all be the basis of information collectively with law enforcement combined. The kids complaining about one kid who’s a problem in a classroom, or he’s talking about killing somebody, or he’s talking about this, or shooting somebody. I mean you have to develop almost like an intelligence network within that group for a database and start targeting, or at least focusing on individuals who may be those problems. The shooting in Florida is a prime example. Everyone, from law enforcement to the education facilities, to mental health dropped the ball. There’s no question about it.
David Brower: Yeah, no question about it.
Larry Forletta: But if we collectively gather information, focus on the individual and that’s individual’s problem, that’s how you can start preventing these types of horrendous actions by these individuals.
David Brower: And I would think that one of the starting points of that, of creating a database or gaining information, is of course building the courage of these young kids to be able to share this information without feeling like a rat, you know I’m going to rat that kid out. That comes back to parents being able to sit down and have a conversation, and give them confidence about if you hear this kind of stuff you’ve got to talk to somebody.
Larry Forletta: I agree 100%. The kids with modern technology today, whether they’re on Instagram, Facebook, or whatever social media outlet, they know who the problem people are.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Larry Forletta: If they go back and they don’t want to tell their teacher, they should tell their parents, or the parents should open a dialogue with their children because it all starts at home.
David Brower: Absolutely. You’ve got to create a safe environment to where that child feels comfortable in sharing a very uncomfortable piece of information.
Larry Forletta: There’s no doubt about that. I think that’s where you have school boards, you have a variety of methods to get back to the officials in that school district, and that’s the other important reason for having a resource officers at the school level. A lot of kids then begin to trust the school resources officer to tell them without worrying to have to have any information disclosed about them.
David Brower: Absolutely right.
Larry Forletta: That’s why it’s so important to have professionally trained resource officers in the schools.
David Brower: Boy we’ve got a long way to go don’t we?
Larry Forletta: Yeah we do, but I think we’re making some progress. There’s a lot more that has to be done.
David Brower: Yeah.
Larry Forletta: But I think we have to collectively do that as a team, a team concept just like what I’ve done for over 40 years now.
David Brower: Right. Exactly right.
Larry Forletta: That’s how you can become successful.
David Brower: Well and yeah, exactly right. You built a team. That’s why you’re successful. We have to encourage other folks to build teams to help keep our kids safe. Larry, this has been a real treat talking to you, Larry Forletta. You can call him for a free consultation at 877-874-9394. That’s 877-874-9394. Or drop him an email at Larry.firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course that’s the website as well, fcisllc.com. Larry this has been so informative and educational. I really appreciate you taking your time and sharing your expertise with us.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including I Heart Radio, the Spotify mobile app, and at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.