by Nick Delgado
Guam - The Department of Corrections is cleaning house. Several officers have separated from public service after the results from an internal affairs investigation revealed they were doing more than guarding inmates, but giving them contraband.
"We've been actively on several cases with reference to contraband here at Mangilao and the Hagatna detention facility, according to DepCor spokesperson Jeff Limo. He says it was saddening to see that some of their own had been breaking the rules. "We had released one personnel we had terminated another one and one had resigned on his own."
It's a no tolerance policy for DOC director Jose San Agustin, the head of the agency charged with ensuring the island's criminals are locked up and serving their time for crimes against the community. "The director wants to make it very clear that we are taking these cases very, very seriously and if the families or friends or even personnel decide to compromise the security up at DOC then they could be facing felony charges," he said.
According to Limo, the officers who are no longer employed were caught going against the oath they took to serve. "In one case scenario one personnel was bringing in tobacco products and the other case was cell phone as well as tobacco products," he said. Limo says the contraband issue has become a growing problem for the prison population, he admits there are several other officers subject to an ongoing internal investigation.
"So again, we have to take each case separately but intensely and by the order of the director we're going to crack down on a lot of the contrabands coming in here and there are several cases still active right now so I can't discuss that further," he said.
And aside from policing their people, DOC is also keeping a closer eye on who's coming in their facilities. "W=we're doing a lot of security measures as you see driving into doc that we beefed up some of the buffer zone areas leading to the main road out of the ACF, that's one step of deterrence of them trying to throw in contraband but at the same time also personnel as far as personnel is concerned and family they're being searched thoroughly before they come into the facility," he said.
For the time being, it's a hard pill to swallow for the doc family knowing there are officers from within that crossed the line. "I really can't answer for them however they're just some people that cannot take no for an answer its saddened that we have to be careful with who we deal with in here... when they decided to do other than what the law tell them to do then they're going to face the penalty," he said.