Moylan: Public safety must be a priority | Opinion

As we continue to emerge from this COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that public safety be a serious priority of this government, as we unfortunately witness criminal activity on a daily basis, to the point where even heinous crimes seem to be on constant increase. .

The reality is that the accelerator pedal to support our law enforcement community should never have been lifted, as we experienced once the onset of lockdowns and quarantines began.

I recently issued a statement to remind Governor Lou Leon Guerrero that his administration failed to make public safety a priority during the first three years of his administration.

No answer

In 2019, my office made numerous requests for a public safety plan and never received a response. We introduced a series of measures to keep our community safe and unfortunately we never received any support from the front office, even if it was in the spirit of collaboration.

This raised many questions as to why keeping our island community safe was not a priority, as we were experiencing a severe drug epidemic, where the market value of methamphetamine was rapidly declining.

bad plan

In early 2020, the administration released several pieces of legislation in which even stakeholders in the public safety community shook their heads and pondered the poorly written plan put on the table – a plan that lacked understanding of what was really happening in our communities. .

Whatever the content of these measures, what is shocking is that until today, the administration has not yet advocated for any of these plans that it has introduced.

In response to my statement, an Adelup staff member informed me that the administration addressed a retention issue earlier this year by providing a pay raise to law enforcement officers. The staff member failed to note that legislation allowing the POST Commission to establish a remuneration plan has been in place since 2019 and has not received any support from the administration.

Last year, we introduced the measure as an amendment to the finance law for the 2022 financial year and my colleagues even identified funding to help the POST commission finalize this plan.

Again all we got from reception were crickets.

Political mileage

I understand this is a re-election year for the administration and they probably felt there would be more political motivation to offer these salary increases in 2022 than in 2020 (as would have led original legislation), but the sad reality is that the waiting game has led to several law enforcement officers leaving their posts for greener pastures, further draining our diverse forces.

This is one of the reasons we inserted language in the fiscal year 2022 budget law to mandate annual training cycles for the Guam Police Department, Customs and Quarantine, Department of Corrections and the Guam Fire Department.

Reminders issued earlier this year were three years behind schedule and were seriously short of dollars and unfortunately this is not about retention but about catching up.

Drug measures

With this drug epidemic on the increase, we have yet to receive support from the administration for two measures that we have introduced to build the long-awaited customs control facility near the port, which would help reduce the importation illicit drugs.

If the administration disagrees with our proposals, please come up with something, and let’s bring it to the table for further discussion, even if they’re funding the design for now, just to start the process.

We are simply asking the governor to come to the table and work with senators, mayors, stakeholders and the community at large. Let’s find ways to solve some of these problems.

Public safety should have been a priority since yesterday but, unfortunately, we have to bite that reality and focus on today.

People deserve real action, not re-election action. It’s not too much to ask.

James Moylan is a senator in Guam’s 36th Legislature.