Police Chief Stephen Ignacio has proposed a budget of $37.8 million for the Guam Police Department in the 2020 spending year, a roughly 7% increase over the current year's budget.

The chief called the spending plan "critical to sustaining police services" and providing the force with the additional personnel and essential equipment needed "to safeguard the community."

During his budget presentation before the appropriations committee Friday at the Guam Congress Building in Hagåtña, Ignacio highlighted the "personnel shortages that plague the department."

He cited the police department's enabling statute, which details the manpower that should be deployed to cover the four shifts necessary in each police precinct:

• Agat: 108 officers required, but 35 are assigned. Of the 35, four are on military duty and two are on sick leave.

• Tumon/Tamuning: 72 officers required, but 35 are assigned. Of the 35, two are on military duty and two are on sick leave.

• Hagåtña: 168 officers required, but 37 are assigned. Of the 37, one is on military duty, one is on sick leave and one is absent without leave.

• Dededo: 156 officers are required, but 35 are assigned. Of the 35, two are on military duty and one is on extended leave.

The total number or officers required is 504, but 126 are currently working at the precincts.

The Special Operations Division is manned by 11 officers, Highway Patrol has 13, Detention Processing Section has four officers on hand and the Executive Security Detail that protects the governor and lieutenant governor has 16 officers.

Ignacio said there are 25 police officer candidates in training and 24 additional recruits who will start training Monday.

The Guam Police Department now has a total of 303 sworn officers, including the 25 officer candidates now in training. There are 55 civilian support personnel for a total of 358 GPD employees.