Report cites "decaying" public safety morale - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Report cites "decaying" public safety morale

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The report on safety provided a rather scathing review of the various law enforcement agencies - especially the Guam Police Department. Its former chief, Adolph Sgambelluri, headed up this subcommittee. "With everyone having their own personal agenda, their own clicks, those things got to stop because not only are they looking bad, it's really bad for the community in total," he noted.

Aside from not providing the level of service it should be, the Transition Subcommittee believes the biggest problem with the force is the decaying morale and rise in a disrespectful attitude within the chain of command. "It's the blind leading the blind for the Guam Police," Sgambelluri shared with KUAM News. "They have good police officers - these guys are dedicated and they want to move with it, but you need some strong leadership."

And over at the Guam Fire Department, it's not much better. The agency lacks vehicles, equipment is short some 96 firefighters and could be realizing $300,000 in revenue a month if it would only implement its ambulance fees. Acting Fire Chief John Salas says he's up for the challenge, saying, "In reality that is one reason I came in to assist as far as helping out with what ever the needs are in the fire department."

Salas says he will be issuing purchase orders for new fire trucks, and that they are considering using $250,000 from the FLAME Fund to get two new ambulances, and they now anticipate the medic billing system to begin in April. 

As for the Transition Team's findings over at the Department of Corrections, they recommend the agency get a handle on its overtime expenses.  DepCor spokesperson Lt. Antone Aguon said, "Our numbers of 500-some inmates in comparison to other jurisdictions is not a great number, but the way the facility lies out requires us to have a lot of officers, more than two dozen officers on duty at any given time."

Reacting to the report, oversight chairman Senator Adolpho Palacios isn't surprised, saying, "I always say there's poor leadership on the last administration and poor attention from the Executive Branch, as seen in the lack of accountability that the former governor exerted on the Guam Police Department and other agencies so it's just the branch itself - the incompetency

Like Sgambelluri, Palacios says there is a need to push the military to help with the increase in personnel. Sgambelluri does say that a lack of continuity is to blame for the ongoing failures of the public safety agencies on island, and he is now calling for some unified structure when it comes to the operations and training of the personnel in these agencies.

"Before there was only one training program at GCC," Sgambelluri said. "Today they're off to the winds everybody doing their own that when they get deployed everyone's doing their own and they are not playing out the sheet of music that they are suppose to be."


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