On March 1, GPD implemented a new uniform policy in which officers were to revert back to wearing light blue uniforms as opposed to their dark blue ones. Police spokesperson Officer AJ Balajadia confirmed that an officer "who remained defiant and refused to convert back to the light blue uniform was secured for defying a director order."
"A majority of the department has complied we understand that there has been one officer that did not comply and we were looking into that," he added.
KUAM News has confirmed that officer was Richard Cress. Cress says he was told to go home when he reported to work Friday evening. He says he was not being defiant, but that he was following General Order 84-02 which gives a distinct uniform for the Guam Police Department, which cannot be found here on Guam. He added the current uniform (light blue) is not in accordance with this general order. He defends that the reason his badge, gun and radio were taken away is because he refused to use his own funds to buy and wear a uniform that is not authorized by the general order. Cress says he was placed on administrative leave and was told to meet with management on Monday.
Balajadia however says officers were given a $350 stipend to purchase new uniforms back in January, adding, "It isn't enough to change your uniforms and everything, but it is a start, and with $350 you should be able to obtain two shirts and two pairs of pants."
Even prior to the Cress confrontation though, an online petition had been circulating about the uniform policy requesting the chief withdraw it, especially for our reserve officers, this change has a financial impact. Also, the light blue uniforms stain easier and will probably have to be replaced often.
It seems Officer Cress isn't alone in his opposition to the new uniform policy. As of Monday afternoon there were 113 signatures. "The petition that has been seen by the chief," Balajadia confirmed, "but as for the signatures, some are GPD and there are other signatures that are not GPD."
Meanwhile, Highway Patrol's planned DUI checkpoints were cancelled this past Friday and Saturday. Although KUAM News received information that the reason for the cancellation was because several officers didn't have the light blue uniforms, Balajadia said that's simply not true. "It was my understanding that we were short, there are times when we rely on some police reserves come in and augment and we just didn't have enough to cover that so we went ahead and cancelled that and will reschedule that."
After receiving additional information Monday evening, Balajadia clarified that there was in fact a "shortage of personnel due to eight officers not having the proper uniform as directed."