Former Guam Police Chief Defends Volunteers Reservists

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Current chief raises concerns about credentials of trainees

By Maria Hernandez

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 28, 2015) – Former Police Chief Fred Bordallo on Tuesday defended the police department's training and certification process for volunteer police reservists after current Police Chief Joseph Cruz raised concerns about the credentials of the latest reserve graduates who received training certificates in June.

In response to comments Cruz made at an Aug. 26 meeting with police officers and staff from the Legislature's public safety committee, Bordallo said he doesn't feel there was any rush by his department to build officer numbers, as Cruz suggested.

"I'm not rushing to get people recruited and trained and equipped and ready to protect the people of Guam," he said. "That's serious business."

Cruz, who took over as police chief in May, was off island Tuesday and unavailable for comment.

The police department's Civilian Volunteer Police Reserves training program began in November 2011 under Bordallo's leadership.

The first graduation took place in May 2012, Bordallo said.

Cruz is not allowing the latest class of about two dozen reservists to serve as police officers, despite the graduates putting in more than 800 hours of training and spending thousands of dollars for equipment and uniforms.

The graduates received training certificates signed by Cruz and other police officials.

Pacific Daily News obtained an audio recording of the Aug. 26 meeting, at which Cruz said he's concerned about the liability of using volunteer officers who graduated from all of the department's civilian volunteer police reserve cycles.

In response, Bordallo said, "It would be disingenuous to classify the reserve program as a liability."

"I have all this knowledge and training credentials and assigned training and staff myself. We don't do any shortcuts," he said. "The trainers that go and are part of the reserve training are our own police officers and some of them teach at the community college."

According to government rules and regulations, all peace officers, including volunteer police officers, must be certified by an accredited college or university or complete a training program that is certified by the local government's Peace Officer Standards and Training commission, or POST.

The police department's months-long training program for Civilian Volunteer Police Reserves, which provided 822 hours of training, was not administered by an accredited college or university, nor was it certified by the POST commission, according to the commission chairman.

Bordallo said that while none of the instructors for the program are POST certified, even instructors teaching at the Guam Community College aren't POST certified.

Cruz at the meeting asked GPD Maj. Fred Chargualaf to conduct an audit of the training program.

The department in recent years has been training the volunteer reserves on its own, but Cruz said future training and staff development would be coordinated through the Criminal Justice Academy at Guam Community College.

Guam Community College spokeswoman Jayne Flores said the institution would be "very happy to work with GPD on training."

Flores said, to her knowledge, the police department has had only general conversations about collaborating with the college, but not conversations specifically about police reserves training.

Bordallo said he sent a letter to the governor and lieutenant governor stating he was willing to meet with the chief to discuss what was discussed at the meeting.

OyaolNgirairikl, the governor's director of communications, said "the administration fully supports the police chief's decision to ensure that GPD officers, whether full-time or volunteer, have the training they need to safely meet their mission."

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