Legislative, Adelup support for Ignacio despite contradictory mental evaluation

Guam Police Chief Stephen Ignacio (PNC file photo)

Guam – Contradicting reports from healthcare professionals regarding the mental health of Guam Police Department chief Stephen Ignacio have surfaced which raises more questions about the nominee’s capability to head the department.

“Based on his clinical interview and standardized testing results, Mr. Stephen Ignacio is not deemed fit from a mental health perspective for consideration in the position of Guam Chief of Police,” Dr. Andrea Leitheiser, a licensed clinical psychologist from Paraoceana Behavioral Health Services said in a letter to legislative oversight chair Senator Jose “Pedo” Terlaje on March 16.

However, almost two weeks later, Dr. Vincent Akimoto, who specializes in Family Medicine at American Medical Center, LLC., released a statement vouching for the nominee’s mental stability.

According to Dr. Akimoto, Ignacio also underwent complete medical evaluation at the American Medical Center that revealed normal mental status and hemodynamic stability.

“Mr. Ignacio is medically cleared for duty and can continue work as Chief of the Guam Police Department,” Akimoto said.

Despite what appears to be conflicting conclusions, all seven senators seated on the legislative oversight committee on public safety have all voted to confirm Ignacio’s nomination.

In response to Leitheiser’s evaluation results, the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration said they are stands by his appointment, calling Ignacio, “a good man, outstanding officer and public servant who continues to demonstrate his capabilities as chief of police.”

The administration said in a statement, “Under his leadership, police presence has increased in our villages, overtime costs have been reduced, and more police officers are being recruited. He received overwhelming support during his confirmation hearing and following it, has received bipartisan support from the committee to be confirmed.”

“Acting chief Ignacio has the full confidence of the Governor and the Lt. Governor and trusts that senators will give him due consideration and will be guided by all the information they have received.”

Chief of Staff Tony Babauta also defended Ignacio’s during an interview at NewsTalk K57’s Morning’s with Patti.

“It doesn’t deter the governor or the Lt. Governor or this administration from knowing that Steve Ignacio would be a fantastic chief of police, it doesn’t deter us at all,” Babauta said.