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AG working to have cops' case dismissed

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - A pre-hearing was held at the Civil Service Commission this afternoon for four police officers who were stripped of their badges and guns and demoted to civilian status. And the government is working to have the complaint against the Guam Police Department dismissed.

It was last month GPD's Captain Mark Charfauros and Officers Tracey Volta, J.P. Duenas and Jeff Santos were demoted after the department said they failed to meet the necessary requirements when they were rehired with the force. But during today's first status call with the CSC, members learned that the Attorney General's Office needs more time to review the case. The government today also stated that the case has jurisdictional issues.

The officers' attorney, William Pole, said, "Management has not appropriately filed the documents, which makes our case even more harder and this is part of the issue is that they did not follow proper procedure when they chose to demote these officers."

Attorney Pole argues the AG's Office is trying to use that very argument in their complaint to have the case dismissed. He says it's something that was expected and that they are prepared to fight, saying, "They are trying to use that so that the officers don't get the justice they deserve...even if you assume GPD is correct they didn't follow the proper procedures to show that it is correct."

While Pole also argues the department is singling out these four, GPD has said that they are following the law. Acting Police Commander Major Leon Ryan calls it "an interesting case", adding, "My take on this is let the legal process take its place, and of course, whatever the outcome of our legal system we should all respect that."

In the meantime, Volta and Duenas are the only officers who underwent a polygraph examination and a psychological evaluation and have since gotten their badges and guns back to return to police duties. But the group still feels that they were mistreated.

Said Volta, "The people of Guam is the ones ultimately suffering for this - it's not necessarily just us, because you're taking police officers off the street, who's going to protect the citizens?"

The CSC continued the hearing for January 25.

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