SECURITY WATCH ON TINIAN STRAINS RESOURCES

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By Sheila D. Amor

After two weeks of around-the-clock security on Tinian, police officers from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) are scheduled to move out from their post once reinforcements from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service arrive on the island municipality.

According to DPS Commissioner Charles Ingram, the federal government will take over the task of guarding the fenced portion of the San Jose Harbor on Tinian, where hundreds of Chinese immigrants are temporarily housed.

People from the detention and deportation division of the INS are already in the area and are providing border patrol for the island, he said.

DPS is providing additional help to augment the current number of security personnel.

"What I am waiting for is sufficient federal security people to come aboard and we can go back to our regular routine," he said.

The 24-hour security watch is putting a strain on the departments limited resources. The DPS pooled its officers from the three islands and set up the security perimeter on Tinian for the CNMI Department of Labor and Immigration.

"It does put a strain on us. My guys are going there for a long time without rest. I need to bring them home," he said in an interview.

Ingram made public that DPS badly needs additional men and women in the service. Although, a recent federal grant allows DPS to hire additional people, its provisions limit their scope of work on patrol operations.

Since the boatload of Chinese arrived on Tinian last month, no major incident had took place to raise security concerns.

However, DPS will be on standby in case trouble erupts, he said.

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