Police officer will undergo drug rehab - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Police officer will undergo drug rehab

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - It's a program that's not often talked about, especially at law enforcement agencies - but with a new top brass committed to a drug-free workplace having already warned of 100% drug testing, KUAM News has learned a member of the Guam Police Department has come forward, admitting to using drugs.

A police officer has claimed safe harbor, admitting to using drugs even after he took an oath to protect and serve and uphold the laws of Guam. Chief of Police Fred Bordallo confirms that the officer has been taken off patrol duties to seek treatment for his drug abuse problem. He said, "We already took the officer off his regular duties as a police officer while working with DOA in regards to the drug-free workplace and the provisions they're required to ensure that he is taken care of in terms of the assistance the agency has to provide when someone claims safe harbor."

That assistance includes getting the officer into a rehab or treatment program.  Because he voluntarily turned himself in, the officer, whose name has not been released, gets to keep his badge and gun.  He won't be able to perform any police duties though until he completes a treatment program and is cleared to function as a police officer.

Chief Bordallo says he still intends to conduct drug testing department wide and sends this message to any others on the force who may be using and abusing. "If you're using illegal drugs, this tarnishes the image of the police department and stern disciplinary action is going to be given to those officers using illegal drugs," he continued.

"It still doesn't negate the fact that we have a trust that we have to uphold with the community."

While those in law enforcement can still keep their jobs if they come forward and claim safe harbor, legislation has been introduced that would exclude all members of the Guam Police and Guam Fire Departments and other uniform officers from being able to do so. Bordallo testified on behalf of his command staff during a public hearing today supporting the bill, in an effort to hold officers to a higher standard.

"We also suggested to the senator too that they look at government-wide to make it fair and equitable if you're going to apply it to law enforcement officers," he said. "One of the things that was brought up was the fire department because not all fire personnel are law enforcement."

Bordallo also suggested looking at other positions in the government, such as those in health and education positions and bus drivers.

This is the second drug-related case involving a police officer in as many months. In February GPD was investigating a police officer who had been absent from work for several days.  An investigation was launched after suspicions had been raised that the officer may have been using drugs. "The investigation has been completed and appropriate hearing was made with the police officer to hear the police officer's response," Chief Bordallo said, "and I'm afforded an opportunity to consider that response and then make a determination on what disciplinary action will be given."

The top brass said he couldn't discuss the case in more detail because it is a personnel matter but he made one thing very clear for both the rank and file and the public, saying, "We have zero tolerance - if you get detected for use of drugs, or using illegal drugs or even dealing drugs."

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