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More visits to schools by law enforcement seeks to curb campus crimes

Posted: May 11, 2018 5:40 PM Updated:

Fights on school grounds and students showing up to school drunk or under the influence of drugs make for a growing problem for the Department of Education. And that's why they continue to team-up with law enforcement, who are making more frequent school visits for educational outreach efforts.

You may have heard of Coffee with a Cop - an initiative that not only increases visibility of public safety personnel, but also makes them more accessible to the community. But, did you know there's a kid edition? Guam Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Paul Tapao is talking about Cookies with a Cop with the most recent one held at Price Elementary School.

"The version of Coffee With A Cop, but for the schools, we have Cookies With A Cop, where we bring the kids in and we talk to them about bullying and we share a glass of milk and a piece of cookie and we just enjoy the conversation. We also have lunch with the kids where officers randomly go into an elementary school without telling the kids and we just sit down and have lunch with the kids and talk to them about issues they're facing. So it's geared towards the elementary level."

And while this outreach initiative targets elementary-aged children, they're visiting the high schools, too. It's called Mission Guardian Angel. "We address issues such as drugs, alcohol abuse, and of course underage drinking and where we put everything together is with the partnership we've established with the Department of Education," said Tapao.

Recently, alarming videos have surfaced on social media, videos like from Simon Sanchez High School showing a student acting out, believed to be under the influence of alcohol. That same day two students were also caught with marijuana on the Yigo campus. Then another clip from Southern High - two girls on the ground after they apparently smoked  spice.

DOE records district wide show 1,307 reports of students caught either intoxicated, using or possessing drugs, inhalants, or alcohol just this school year.

That's why GPD's school visits are so important. "We've been doing a lot of programs with the schools to include the schools' Crimestoppers program, which has been very instrumental in reaching out to the schools and teaching them how to make right choices. Teaching the kids from elementary to high school about decision making skills and how to keep their school safe by reporting crimes to the schools," he said.

Earlier this week, GPD met with Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez, his deputies, and school principals. "It's more of a meeting of understanding of where we can help and how we can assist with different programs from the Guam Police Department to address issues such as underage drinking, fights, and of course the use of illegal and illicit drugs," he explained.

"How do we approach the problem? Identifying the problem, finding the solution for it and really taking into account of where the problem lies. It's really going to take a collective effort," Tapao explained.

GPD also uses sports to curb kids from drug and alcohol abuse. That initiative is called Fade Away from Violence - and will occur later this year.

For more information on these initiatives, call GPD Dispatchers at 472-8911 and ask to be forwarded to the Community Affairs Office.

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