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Palacios working on HQ bill

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Guam Police Department has less than nine months to move out of its current headquarters in Tiyan. While efforts are underway to establish and construct a new headquarters for the police and fire departments, one lawmaker is hoping the feds will allow GPD to stay in Tiyan for two more years.

The Guam Police will be putting out a request for interest for rental facilities in the coming weeks as they look for a new home. A memorandum of understanding with the Guam International Airport Authority calls for GPD to move out of its current Tiyan headquarters by September 11. Public Safety Oversight Chair Senator Adolpho Palacios is putting the finishing touches on legislation that would establish a headquarters for GPD and the Guam Fire Department.

A similar measure was introduced during the last legislature, but it lacked a repayment source that Palacios says they've now received. "A solid figure, the minimum amount from the Guam Police Department from the police service funds and from the fire department and incorporate that and that would be the repayment source going into just one account," he explained.

Sen. Palacios expects to introduce the bill by next week once his staffer, former senator Frank Aguon, Jr., completes the final version. The legislation calls the construction of the new $25 million headquarters on government property across from Home Depot along Airport Road in Tamuning. But even if the bill were to be passed and signed into law immediately, the actual headquarters wouldn't be constructed before next year at the earliest, which means GPD will have to find a temporary home away from Tiyan.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been adamant that any non-aviation-related tenants of the airport move out immediately.  They've even threatened withholding federal funds for non-compliance.

But the Democrat policymaker is hopeful the feds will be amenable to extending GPD's lease for another two years. He continued, "If they do that and find a rental place. They're just going to sit there for another five years I don't know then it diminishes the urgency of building a headquarters, which I've been saying all along. We'll always have a police department, we'll always have a fire department - why don't we build, invest in the building and house them?"

Whether the feds will agree to the extension remains to be seen. But in the meantime, GPD will have to look for a new place to call home and identify funds for that relocation.

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