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Senators draft bill for public safety HQ

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - With a September deadline to move out of Tiyan, the clock is ticking for the Guam Police Department to find a new headquarters. Several lawmakers believe they've found a solution with an existing facility.

Speaker Judi Won Pat, Senator Adolpho Palacios and Senator Judi Guthertz introduced Bill 65 this week in an effort to provide a permanent home for public safety agencies.   The legislation seeks to combine nearly three acres of land in Upper Tumon for the construction of a public safety headquarters. The proposed location? The former Goodwill facility next to Kmart and across John F. Kennedy High School.

The federal management team overseeing the government's compliance with the amended permanent injunction has proposed to use the facility to build the center - touted as a one stop shop for the treatment and care of individuals with disabilities. But Speaker Won Pat says the governor, in discussions with the federal management team, noted that they may not need the facility after all as there's existing space behind Mental Health.

"The facility is adequate," she confirmed. "Of course, they're going to have to go vertical. It's actually three separate lots if you read in the bill.  What it is now to combine the three lots into one. It's about a little over three acres of land."

The Guam Police Department not only has to move out of Tiyan, but out of the koban in Tamuning that's currently housing the Community Assisted Policing Effort (CAPE) program. Sheraton wants the facility back but has offered to construct another facility elsewhere.  There's also been discussion that a 900-square foot facility would be constructed at the corner of the new JFK High property for GPD to utilize, but Won Pat believes they've presented a better idea.

"Maybe the monies from these two kobans instead can actually be used instead for the architecture and engineering, so that we could actually have a permanent facility for the department," she continued. "It's very difficult if we see we're going to go out and try to find money elsewhere to do the A&E. they won't be able to proceed until we have that and we need to be able to identify some funding sources for that."

Another hurdle they must resolve is the financing for the actual construction of the public safety headquarters.  It's something the public safety oversight chair is currently working on.

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