Judiciary seeks reimbursement for SRO guns
by Krystal Paco
Guam - As five new school resource officers prepare to start their jobs at campuses around the island when students return from Christmas Break next week, the Judiciary of Guam is trying to figure out what to do with the weapons and bullets they purchased for the SROs.
While five school resource officers will be heading to their jobs at public high schools next week, they won't be armed with weapons even though the Judiciary spent $9,000 to purchase them. Court policy, planning and communications director Josh Tenorio said, "The firearms were purchased months ago as part of the execution of the grant and the promises that were made to get this project underway."
The Judiciary purchased .22-caliber guns, holsters and bullets for the five SROs back in September, but now it appear the courts are left footing a bill they thought would be paid by the Department of Education. "The contractual agreement we had was we front the expenses and get a reimbursement; we've submitted the reimbursement for the firearms now were waiting for a response, although I understand they don't want to approve the expenditure," Tenorio added.
Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido stated that SROs would not be armed, even though they are peace officers. There was a significant outcry in the community and among elected leaders about allowing firearms on campus even though previous SROs carried guns. Carbullido said he wouldn't have the SROs bring weapons when they enter the schools next week, saying the Guam Education Board and the Guam Legislature would ultimately have to make the call.
The Guam Education Board last week agreed that the Department of Education has a no-guns policy for school campuses islandwide, and they would leave that decision to the court's discretion. Tenorio explained, "The Chief justice already decided we're not going to allow our court employees to have the firearms. And if there's a policy or a law that's changed, we wouldn't reconsider that until sometime when the next school year starts."
So now the court is left with weapons, ammunition and holsters for guns that won't be used by SROs, and that may not be reimbursed by DOE who doesn't want them, Tenorio speculated, "What's going to happen now is were going to have to work with a chief probation officer to determine where the need is if the federal funds are no longer going to pay for these firearms it's an open transaction do we're going to have to take a look internally, where the need is and assign all that equipment to where the need is."