Department of Corrections graduates six new officers - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Department of Corrections graduates six new officers

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Considered the first step to address its shortfall in personnel, six recruits graduated today to become new corrections officers at the Department of Corrections. And they're the first of many set to be hired in the next few months.

DepCor director Jose San Agustin was more than pleased to welcome the first cycle of recruits to graduate this year as the department's newest correction officers. "It's actually a first step of six recruits that we graduated today to be able to meet our shortfalls of personnel within the Department of Corrections," he explained.

The department currently has 159 seasoned correction officers but according to San Agustin, today's six were a unique batch. "They actually went through a BLEA (Basic Law Enforcement Academy) training, so they have a background on law enforcement prior to coming here and participating in the Basic Correction Officer Training, so they have some knowledge with regards to law enforcement, dos and don'ts, concepts basics. So what we did was added on and really it's the foundation of what they really need to perform their daily duties here at DOC," he said.

Part of the training included working with the courts and the marshals.  San Agustin meanwhile says the six graduates are the first of several set to be hired in the coming months. "We're actually anticipating to hire 18 more possibly by the end of this month, if not March and we're anticipating on 31 more correction officers around March and April timeframe, so this is very exciting because of officers that have been here for a while are anticipating and looking forward to some relief," he said.

San Agustin adds once more officers are hired, his goal is to eliminate overtime in its entirety. The six new graduates are expected to start their new jobs immediately and were even given some advice by Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, who delivered the oath of office today.

"So I ask you to use your heart, use your head of course, but definitely think about the compassion that you show to your fellow man, because the respect or that lack thereof that you show the detainee or the inmate of this institution will returned in due course," he said.

It was earlier this year when DOC noted they anticipated close to a million dollars of funding from the Department of Interior to hire more correction officers. Ultimately, San Agustin says this will be the beginning of what will be a challenging career for today's graduates especially as the DOC facility currently has a population of 738.

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