Beefed up security at DOC results in suspension of 2 COs for drugs

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Two corrections officers tested positive for ice, said DOC Director Tony Lamorena.

Guam – A drone that breached security, two corrections officers who tested positive for ice and an increase in confiscated contraband at DOC–while it may seem alarming, the Department of Corrections says it’s all attributed to their beefed up security.

Last week, DOC found a drone that crash landed in their facility, a clear indication that people are getting more creative in smuggling contraband. And now DOC Director Tony Lamorena says two corrections officers have tested positive for ice.

“We have organized a special operations response team or SORT to provide additional perimeter surveillance, more random searches and shakedowns and to provide better and stronger support to our officers when situations arise,” announced Lamorena during a press conference Thursday.

Lamorena explains that since they’ve implemented a new schedule for corrections officers and with their new hires, they’ve been able to save more money in overtime.

With the savings in overtime, DOC has been able to divert that money to purchase others items related to security, such as a 360 camera which has a bird’s eye view of the entire facility and 100 iConnect cell phones. Since they’ve implemented their Operation Green Vigilance this year, DOC has had 26 cases of contraband and they’ve confiscated 20 to 25 cell phones.

Although he couldn’t give us the exact amount, Lamorena says for the 100 iConnect phones, it cost them about $20,000 for the units and another $30,000 a year for service. This means no corrections officer should go without a radio or cell phone to communicate.

“We have initiated random vehicle searches to augment and assist the 100 percent bag search and pat down in our facility. We have purchased metal detector wands for all points of entries in Mangilao and Hagatna,” noted Lamorena.

DOC also conducted a drug test of all their corrections officers. As a result, two tested positive for ice.

“Both officers have been with the department less than three years,” said Lamorena.

PNC: “Any indication that they might have tried to smuggle contraband into DOC at all?”

“We’re looking at all possibilities. That’s one reason why we have ongoing investigations on both individuals,” Lamorena noted.

In fact, Lamorena says that the increase in caseload and contraband doesn’t necessarily mean a weakened security system.

“We’re looking at–for example, the drone situation last Friday–as success in regards to our efforts that they’re now exploring other means of trying to bring in contraband,” remarked Lamorena.

You can watch the full press conference on our PNC Facebok page.