Bill to streamline the hiring process for law enforcement officers passes

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The measure proposes to streamline the hiring practice when it comes to filling vacant law enforcement officer positions, as well as provide qualified agencies the authorization to keep the process of seeking candidates ongoing. (PNC file photo)

Bill 31-36, also known as “The Swift Appointment Modernization Act of 2021” was unanimously passed by the Senators of the 36th Guam Legislature Monday afternoon.

The measure proposes to streamline the hiring practice when it comes to filling vacant law enforcement officer positions, as well as provide qualified agencies the authorization to keep the process of seeking candidates ongoing.

Bill 31-36 establishes two new procedures for the Department of Administration’s Personnel Rules and Regulations when it comes to addressing the application process to fill law enforcement officer positions. They include:

  1. Authorizing Qualified Law Enforcement Agencies or Departments to request for Certification Lists that contain up to three times the number of applications as there are available vacancies.

  2. Authorizing Qualified Law Enforcement Agencies or Departments to continue to interview candidates, even if vacant positions are filled.

“Because of the timelines from the application stage to the actual hiring phase, along with an appeal process which further adds to delays, it is critical to authorize law enforcement agencies to continue to seek qualified candidates to fill funded vacancies,” stated Senator James Moylan. “The present conundrums include the realities that by the time one is hired, they may have found permanent employment elsewhere. Or a freshly hired officer accepts a position with a federal entity, thus it is vital to have a process in place to expedite filling these vacancies. Bill 31-36 assists in achieving these objectives.”

Bill 31-36 mirrors a similar measure introduced by Senator Moylan in the 35th Guam Legislature. It was proposed at a time when law enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Corrections and the Guam Police Department were facing critical manpower shortages. Unfortunately, the legislation never got the chance to advance.

“I would like to thank the co-sponsor, Vice Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes, and my colleagues for their support of Bill 31-36. There is much more which we need to focus on when it comes to adequately addressing the needs of our law enforcement agencies. We have introduced other measures, such as Bill 34-36, which addresses the retention of officers. It is critical that the government prioritize combatting this drug epidemic plaguing our island,” Moylan said.

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