GPD oversight: polygraphs, docs & search warrants - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GPD oversight: polygraphs, docs & search warrants

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Details about a polygraph examination that resulted in a single test being sent off-island and the circumstances surrounding the Guam Police Department's efforts to obtain a search warrant to search KUAM were disclosed during this morning's oversight hearing.

Senator Ben Pangelinan announced, "Those within the police department who wanted to ensure that the law was followed would not stand for any cover-up when it wasn't being followed, and when you had the police chief on the air, saying 'We all followed this' and 'I knew nothing about it', and then people internally knew that he knew about it, he signed off on it, then those police officers brave police officers, said we're not going to let this happen to our police department and we're going to expose it. And the reaction once it was exposed was rather than owing up to it, they tried to cover it up even more." 

Public Safety Committee members like Senator Pangelinan came armed with plenty of questions for the Guam Police Department's management.  Those questions included how an individual who did not pass a polygraph examination was able to be processed and hired by GPD when the law requires individuals selected as a police officer to submit to and pass a polygraph examination.

Department of Administration Human Resources Administrator Cecilia Martinez says her agency trusts the hiring agency - in this case the police department.  "Once the [chief of police] certifies, signs on the certification list, that means that all of those individuals must have met all those requirements," she explained. "So we take his signature as the authorization and the final result of the qualifications of these individuals."

It was revealed today that a polygraph examination administered to Police Officer Trainee John Edwards was the only test - in at least 16 years - that has ever been sent off-island for external review.  Senior polygrapher and police Lieutenant Lawrence Quichocho stated, "I reaffirmed those findings, and in order to avoid that the individual claiming that he didn't know what we were doing, I made the decision to send-off the results to the Baxter School, where we were trained.  And they reviewed the results and concurred with our initial finding."

The finding was that Edwards' test was inconclusive.

Lt. Quichocho explained that all polygraph test results fall into three categories: No Deception, Inconclusive, and Deception Indicated.  He added that the polygraphers haven't even drafted their report on Edwards' test results.  

While Edwards' was processed and hired with GPD, the department then launched an investigation into how KUAM obtained information about his polygraph.  That investigation led to police obtaining and executing a search warrant after KUAM News aired our story.  Police alleged that the document we aired showing that Edwards test had been sent off-island for external review was a confidential official document that had been stolen from a personnel file.

But it was clear to lawmakers that the item in question was not a personnel document.

Captain Fred Bordallo was asked by the committee to explain the basis for a complaint that the information was a stolen personnel document, to which he replied, "Without jeopardizing an ongoing criminal investigation that's going on, a lot of us is basing what has been reported in the news." Senator Adolpho Palacios, the committee chairman, then said, "But for the purpose of this hearing, it's clear that this document prior to release has never become party of a personnel file.  The way we know about what's in the personnel file it hasn't become a part of that."  Said Bordallo, "That's correct senator.  It's becoming part of the personnel file."

Instead, officials called it a progress report on potential applicants.  Acting Police Chief Ricardo Leon Guerrero says the situation involving the leaked document has officials wanting to go back and review the department's policies pertaining to the handling of confidential and personnel records and documents.  He said, "We do have a policy in place, but I think it's time for us to revisit that and make sure that all documents regardless of how it was originated, should be protected."

Meanwhile, former chief Paul Suba also attended today's hearing, making it clear the investigation into the leak is still a priority at the department - even if he's no longer the top brass.  "We pretty much know who. It's just a matter of proving who that was," he said.  "But from Point A to Point B there is a sign-in and sign-out of those documents.  That's all in place.  So the system works, and sad to say someone tested it and now they're going to be probably facing the consequence of that."

Lawmakers have now asked the police department to provide specific details about how many potential applicants who underwent a polygraph examination had deceptive results, and how many were deemed inconclusive. The committee also wants details on whether individuals who had deceptive results in the last few years were hired by the police department anyway.

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