Guam Corrections Department Officers Disciplined

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2 suspended, 1 terminated as a result of internal investigations

By Cameron Miculka

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 8, 2014) – Internal investigations at Guam’s Department of Corrections (DOC) have led to the suspension of two officers and the termination of a third.

The investigations are related to the escape of a murder suspect and a video showing a maximum-security inmate giving an officer a foot rub, respectively.

Officer Jeff Limo, special assistant to the director, announced yesterday that the department served the adverse actions yesterday morning.

The two officers' 30-day suspension is a response to the escape by suspected killer Keith Garrido.

Garrido, who was arrested in 2012 in connection with the slaying of Barrigada resident Nancy Mafnas, escaped from a Corrections transport van en route to the Superior Court of Guam in November 2013.

While on the loose, Garrido allegedly stole clothes to change into and assaulted a woman by beating her with an iron and tying her hands. He was captured more than an hour later.

After the incident, Department Director Jose San Agustin said insecure restraints contributed to the escape.

He said the restraints weren't double-locked, which mean the handcuffs could be removed with something as simple as a staple.

It also was determined that the van didn't lock from the inside, which would have prevented passengers from opening the door.

On top of that, the transporting officers violated protocol that requires one officer sit in the back with the detainees.

Limo said yesterday that all those procedures are being reviewed and updated.

For instance, he said, four more officers have been added to the transport team.

Since the escape, those officers also will undergo regular weekly training to ensure all policies and protocol are followed.

Limo said the department also will be using "chase vehicles" -- unmarked, nondescript vehicles that will follow transport vans carrying "high-risk" detainees.

Those vehicles would be able to quickly react and stop any future escape attempts.

Videoconferencing

Limo said the prison also will be working closely with the court to find opportunities for detainees to appear via videoconference, eliminating the need to transport some inmates.

The Judiciary of Guam Northern Satellite already uses videoconferencing for magistrate's hearings.

"We would like to see that," Limo said. "We are really working together with the Superior Court... so we can come together as far as transport is concerned."

Joshua Tenorio, director of policy, planning and community relations, said the court would be prepared for increased use of teleconferencing.

"The will is here on the court side," he said.

Tenorio added that every courtroom currently has videoconferencing capabilities and each judge has taken testimony via videoconference at least once.

The department also fired an officer who was seen on video receiving a foot rub from a maximum-security inmate.

Limo said that officer was the unit manager of the prison's maximum security unit and had been at the department for more than 10 years.

In November, the prison announced that it was investigating a cellphone video that showed the officer getting a foot massage from the detainee.

The department didn't say who took the video, but Limo said yesterday that person was cooperating with the investigation and wasn't being disciplined.

Another video showed prison staff playing musical instruments believed to have been obtained at the prison chapel.

Limo said those employees received reprimands but weren't punished any further.

The employees have 20 days to appeal the adverse action, Limo said.

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