Bills introduced to mandate annual police and customs officer training cycles

New police officers are sworn in during a graduation ceremony at the Dusit Thani hotel in Tumon. (file photo)

Senator James Moylan was joined by his colleagues, Senators Tony Ada, Frank Blas Jr., Jose “Pedo” Terlaje, Clynt Ridgell, Chris Duenas, and Joe San Agustin in introducing Bills 138-36 and 139-36 which would mandate annual training cycles for both the Guam Police Department (GPD) and the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency (CQA). The measures were prompted to not only address officer shortages in the respective entities, but also the realities of officers leaving each year for a variety of reasons.

Bill 138-36 amends Public Law 33-163, authored by former Senator Brant McCreadie, which mandates annual police cycles for fiscal years 2017 to 2021. It required “at least” 40 cadets each year, and for the Chief of Police to include the costs associated with the cycle as part of GPD’s annual budget submittal. The legislation introduced removes the sunset provision, hence making this requirement permanent. It further amends the verbiage in the statute to make the 40 candidates the maximum number, to address costs, realities with classroom sizes, and other factors.

Bill 139-36 creates a new statute that would mandate CQA to conduct annual training cycles for customs officers. Just as the language in the statute with GPD, the Director of the agency shall include any costs associated with the training as part of the annual budget submitted to the Governor. The legislation would require up to 20 cadets annually.

“By mandating these training cycles in statute, would make it easier for the agencies to include the costs associated with the cycles in their annual budget, and would prompt future legislatures in finding the needed funds to assure that these statutes don’t end up as unfunded mandates. It shouldn’t be a ‘want’, rather it should be a ‘need’,” stated Senator Moylan. “Further, these agencies play a critical role in keeping our communities and borders safe, yet they are both currently facing officer shortfalls. Plus, as with any entity, you lose good people all the time, whether it is because of retirement, leaving for other opportunities, or even relocation. It is only responsible to keep the recruitment and training process consistently ongoing,” added Senator Moylan.

“I would like to thank my colleagues, Senators Ada, Blas, Terlaje, Ridgell, Duenas, and San Agustin for co-sponsoring these practical measures(Sen and look forward to the discussions,” Senator Moylan also stated.

(Senator James Moylan Release)