GUAM CRIME LAB WOULD SERVE REGION

Editorial

Pacific Daily News

HAGATNA, Guam (December 11) – Last week, the heads of close to 30 police departments throughout Micronesia were on Guam for their annual meeting to discuss public safety in the region, and to share challenges and success stories.

One of the topics discussed was Guam's proposed new forensic laboratory and the need to get the crime lab built now. Unfortunately, the project doesn't seem to be any closer to realization.

A trip through the current crime lab is enough to convince anyone of just how important it is for the island, and the entire region, to get a new, modern facility to help police do their job more effectively. The forensic unit is based out of an old building in Tiyan that's falling apart, and it's stocked with a lot of outmoded or broken equipment, such as the fingerprint machine.

Further evidence is the number of unsolved crimes, including several murders this year, facing this community. A new facility that is properly equipped with modern equipment and highly trained personnel would go a long way toward closing a lot of open cases.

The Guam Police Department's Cold Case Unit has shown what good police work can do, solving six cold cases just this year. Imagine how much more they, and other police officers, could accomplish with the proper forensic facilities.

Let's not forget that the crime lab would serve more than just our local community. It would be an asset in terms of investigative work and training for the entire region -- for the other governments of Micronesia, the military investigative units and federal agencies as well.

The construction of a new crime lab must be moved to a much higher priority within the government. This community needs the judicial, legislative and executive branches to work together more strongly to expedite the process of building a modern forensic laboratory.

Until this facility is built, criminals will have a much easier time victimizing the members of this community.

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