Guam – The contract for security guards at Guam’s Public Schools will end soon and Guam DOE will not have does not have the money for a new security contract, yet.
Although Superintendent Jon Fernandez won’t say when exactly the contract ends for fear that it may entice vandals and thieves to hit the schools, according to PNC news files the Governor signed the emergency declaration that allowed GDOE to procure the 30 day security contract on December 20th which means that the contract will likely end by this weekend.
Guam DOE hired G4S, Hawk and Denance to provide security in December right before the Christmas break after a rash of copper wire thefts left classrooms without power and air conditioning. “So the emergency procurement gave us thirty days to immediately put in our foot patrol in our schools and procure copper wire and get them reinstalled for our schools as they re-opened in January,” said Fernandez.
The emergency declaration that allowed for the procurement was signed on December 20th which means it should be expire come Monday the 21st. There’s no way to procure another contract in time as there is no more funding for it. Instead Fernandez says they’ve asked GPD to increase their patrols around the schools during nights and weekends and they’re working with the mayors and volunteer watch groups from the villages to help keep an eye on the schools. “We’ve been working very closely with our mayors with GPD with our school administrators and our community partners to ensure that we have also a lot of volunteer visits and patrols that night and on the weekends to make sure that we continue to deter further thefts and further intrusions,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez says that they had $2.8 million from the Department of the Interior that they used for the emergency procurement of security and copper wire but most of that has already been used up. They are however taking a close look at their books to determine whether or not they can find some other source of funding or whether they need some additional funding to procure some form of professional security again. “Even though the foot patrol might not be the same going forward we’re still looking at those options and what that might look like working with professional security services as part of our ongoing security that’s gonna take budget that’s gonna take a procurement time line to get that in place,” said the superintendent.
Fernandez says that they are also considering electronic security systems much like what has been proposed by a recent bill introduced by Speaker Judi Won Pat but they will have to work together with her to make sure that her plan fits in with some of the electronic security measures they have already planned on implementing once they receive some federal funding that is pending. “I think there’s a need for some of the electronic surveillance and tools so those could range from security cameras to lights that trigger when there’s motion so motion detectors and alarms as well as physical whether its security whether its custodians or some kind of other presence on that campus during those hours that combination would work best,” said Fernandez.
The superintendent has not asked for the Governor to issue a new emergency declaration because there is currently no funding source. However he believes the department will be able to procure some form of private security contract before the end of this fiscal year and they will work on having funding included in their budget for the future fiscal years as well.