Guam Police To Increase Village Patrols To Decrease Crime

Special operations unit to be deployed for patrols

By Jasmine Stole

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, August 23, 2016) – Within the next week, the Guam Police Department will begin using 30 to 40 officers from its special operations divisions for village patrol duties — a move that’s meant to increase police visibility and deter crime, according to acting police chief Mark Charfauros.

During a press conference Tuesday at Adelup, Charfauros also said GPD’s goal is to have 500 officers working for the local police agency within the next four to five years. The number of current uniformed officers is 320, he said.

The officers that will move to village patrols will come from divisions like the Criminal Justice Strike Force and Criminal Investigations Division, he said. Those officers will maintain their regular jobs, but work patrols on certain days.

Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio, who attended Tuesday’s press conference, said an attempted kidnapping of an 8-year-old Toto girl on Monday was a red flag.

The government needs to take action to get more police officers on patrol, Tenorio said.

Police: Restructuring

Assigning special operations division officers to patrol villages doesn’t mean work in other villages will be hampered, according to Charfauros.

“Basically it’s a shift in personnel. It will not (accrue) any additional overtime. It is just a restructuring of our force to have a larger presence in the villages,” Charfauros said.

The officers who will be part of the shift are seasoned officers with experience and who’ve proven themselves in the field, according to the acting police chief.

“We’re redeploying our best officers back out in the field because in order to earn a spot in these units you have to prove yourself out on the field,” Charfauros said.

Lt. Mike Arcangel, who oversees the Highway Patrol Division, said some of his officers will be part of the shift, but he doesn’t anticipate the move will impact their highway patrol duties.

“We’re tired of seeing people victimized,” Arcangel said. “Other things will not be neglected. We’ll still do our follow-ups, we’ll still respond to crashes but we will help our brothers and sisters out on patrol. We need to.”

Needs of community

Charfauros on Tuesday said GPD had a total of 320 uniformed officers.

At a May 2016 public hearing for a Bill 309-33, now Public Law 33-163, police chief Joseph Cruz told lawmakers there were 326 total police officers.

What Cruz told lawmakers in May, Charfauros echoed at Tuesday’s press conference held at Adelup — GPD needs 500 uniformed officers to meet the community’s needs.

Charfauros said Tuesday the goal is to have 500 officers in the next four to five years.

Over the last 10 fiscal years, the department has had an average of 309 sworn personnel, according to May 2016 written testimony from Cruz. His testimony supported Public Law 33-163, which funds and mandates annual recruitment of police officers through fiscal year 2021.

Between fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2014, GPD reported having between 300 sworn officers to 319 sworn officers, according to the department’s citizen centric reports.

Charfauros said the divisions tapped to supplement patrol will use their divisions' vehicles, marked and unmarked, when they’re out on the streets.

Cruz, the police chief, was off island Tuesday, according to the governor’s office.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2016 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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