GPD works to combat crime, albeit short-staffed & ill-equipped - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GPD works to combat crime, albeit short-staffed & ill-equipped

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - Public safety agencies on the island have long been plagued with a lack of resources - whether it's having enough manpower or the necessary tools to complete their mission.  With the recent rise in crime, what's being done to reinforce staffing and fully equip the island's men and women in blue?

With increasing reports of home invasions, armed robberies, car break-in's and more mMany island residents simply don't feel safe.  Lisa Pacheco from Barrigada said, "I notice I really lock my doors lately and I am always checking to see where my children are at making sure that they are safe so I really don't feel that I am safe here on Guam these days." And Sebastian Camacho from Yigo added, "To some people of course Guam is a very unsafe place because they experience it." Piti's Bill Kurangco noted, "I know the police department has a lot of problems and they need to solve those."

As we recently reported the Guam Police Department has struggled to respond to emergencies, as manpower levels are extremely low, often with just 20 police officers on duty at any given time at the four precincts. GPD chief of police Fred Bordallo says the Administration is doing what it can to help GPD combat crime, saying, "We have been awarded $751,000 Cops Grant for six new police officer positions governor has worked on this with Congresswoman Bordallo to ensure we get this so we can add more officers on the street."

Funds from Fiscal Year 2104 have also been authorized to hire eighteen police officers, as well as $500,000 from the Tourist Attraction Fund have been allocated to hire and additional four officers at the Tumon Precinct and six positions under the 2013 Cops Grant funding while ten positions from FY11 and FY12 are undergoing background checks. Bordallo says he hopes to get officers on the streets by January- February timeframe.

As for the lack of police vehicles, he said, "The governor has also sets some resources to us and directed we increase our fleet at this time our fleet we have 23 vehicles right now in terms of marked vehicles."

But it will take several months to procure additional vehicles and hire new officers, leaving the department critically short at a time when crime is on the rise.

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