Programs increase island’s police presence - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Programs increase island’s police presence

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Police officers are out in full-force during this holiday season, looking to make the island a safer place.  Police have been hitting dozens of business establishments looking for loiterers, those under the influence of alcohol and criminals looking to take advantage of the unsuspecting Christmas shopper. 

Island residents can expect to see significantly more police on the road this holiday season. "We can ensure that the message is sent that people are going to have a safe holiday season because they'll have a full presence," assured chief of the Guam Police Department Fred Bordallo. He says that's the idea behind Operation Dragon that was launched last week. The police department not only has uniform officers participating, but cape volunteers and reservists are lending a hand as well.

Lieutenant Mike Archangel says personnel are divided into groups and assigned to different parts around the island, saying, "Our targets for that evening were mom and pop stores and any other establishments that sell alcoholic beverages. We looked particularly for people who were hanging around outside the mom-n-pop stores."

Archangel says most store owners are in possession of an off-sale liquor license, which means alcohol purchased there must be consumed off the premises. "At the same time, we're targeting those people and making sure they leave the area and clean up after themselves if they left a mess, is we would go in and talk to the store owner or the store manager or whoever may have been on-duty at that time, we remind them of the law regarding their license and the law regarding the people that are outside drinking, which is illegal," he said.

Police are also looking at those who are loitering around school bus stops as the law prohibits such activity. Lt. Archangel continued, "We're also providing that deterrence to would be law violators that hey we're watching out for you. We're not just looking out for drunks - we're looking out for those people who might be casing the mom-n-pop store who might want to rob the store."

It's all about increasing visibility, notes Sergeant Jovito Jasmin. "We did have approximately close to thirty encounters that evening on the first night, and that's not hitting all the mom-n-pop stores," he said. "It's also an aggressive educational campaign to those people out there and to the establishment owners and we've also came across restaurants and bars that had patrons drinking outside."

And police aren't just targeting the mom-n-pop stores and shopping centers, but also drunk-and-drugged driving.  Highway Patrol Dvision's Captain Paul Suba says Operation Blue Fire is also in full effect with DUI checkpoints and roving enforcement. "It will encompass not only highway patrol but regular patrol officers, airport police has their operations. They'll be working in tandem with us, as well as Port Police, so you're going to see a lot more activity in the area of traffic enforcement and the whole idea is to make the roads safer," said Suba. "The message we're trying to send before any enforcement has to take place, make sure you're responsible when you're going out there to have fun on those roads."

Operation Dragon and Operation Blue Fire will continue until January 2.

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