DOC graduates first class of in-house Special Operations Respons - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DOC graduates first class of in-house Special Operations Response Team trainees

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Acts of violence inside the prison - it's a headline we see all too often whenever we hear about the Department of Corrections. But, we could be seeing some changes at least when it comes to added safety for all at the facility.

They're the unsung heroes in public safety. The DOC plays a vital role in keeping our island safe. Now, they've brought in another layer of security - and we're not talking about locking systems.

It's a first for the Department of Corrections, as agency director Tony Lamorena said, "In the history of the Department of Corrections, this is the first in-house SORT training ever accomplished by us." He addressed graduates of their Special Operations Response Team 1st Cycle: 11 men from DOC and 2 from the Department of Youth Affairs.

"DOC has become a part of the DOC family. In all our trainings now we try to incorporate as much as we can with DYA because we see ourselves as brothers and sisters in public safety," he said.

SORT officers handle everything from riots to extractions and even tracking, should a prisoner escape. For DOC, Friday's graduation brings their SORT officer count to 15. Lamorena said, "It brings that added layer of security that we all expect of our people at DOC. Our officers on post now know that there's a team, in case something happens, there's a team to respond to their needs.

"Wwe all know that working at DOC is probably one of most unsung positions in public safety - people fail to realize the importance of the work that we do at the department of corrections. But they are also quick to respond when something goes wrong."

Class Commander for the cycle, Ruben Sasaki, says he and his classmates were pushed to the limit - both physically and mentally. He said, "Some are seasoned officers. Some are new. Some from military backgrounds and some without any experience in special tactics. Day One of our training consisted of jumping jacks, pushups, crawling, and whole lot of running. We carried logs as far as Anigua to Paseo."

"We are more than a team," he added. "We are a family. We will always have each other's backs. We started 13 divided and we end 13 united."

Lamorena added, "As corrections officers you should be proud of the work that you do. Because you do a service to the people of Guam. You don't realize it. We're always behind the scenes. When we play an important role for the safety of everyone that lives on this island. And never be discouraged for the work that you do. Never be embarrassed for the work that you do."

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