Senator asks Adelup for public safety plan

FEEDBACK: Government officials held a public safety town hall meeting Wednesday night in Agat. From left, Police Chief Steve Ignacio; Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, chief of staff Tony Babauta, and a senior advisor to the governor, Carlotta Leon Guerrero, hear and address some of the village residents' feedback. Post file photo

Sen. James Moylan is hoping to get answers to his letters on suggestions to address the island’s public safety issue.

In a press release, Moylan said a third letter in as many weeks was sent to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero on Friday. The intent was to follow up on any details the administration can share when it comes to addressing the public safety crisis, including what steps the executive branch was pursuing in regards to hiring peace officers and if legislative activity was needed.

Moylan’s press release emphasized the introduction of Bill 245-35 several weeks ago, which would expedite processing candidates by relaxing certain personnel rules.

“In the past 10 days we have seen the celebratory hiring of two deputy directors, both of less critical agencies, yet other than general statements, we have not heard any details on how the administration will hire additional peace officers, considering the archaic hiring policies in the books,” Moylan said. “Now we are hearing that any plans to address the public safety concerns from the town hall meetings will not be released until the end of the year. We are heading into a holiday season where crime numbers increase, and all our people ask for is optimism. That comes with an urgency in transparency in terms of how the government plans on addressing these problems.”

In response to the press release, the governor’s director of policy, Carlo Branch, stated:

“We appreciate Senator Moylan’s concern for public safety. The challenge is we don’t know which Jim Moylan we are dealing with. Is he the guy who wants us to spend millions more in new personnel at GPD or the guy who voted against more money for GPD in the current budget but presented no alternative of his own? Our plan to hire more officers is simple. The Legislature gave us the budgetary authority to hire and that’s what we are doing.”

During the budget process, Moylan proffered an amendment to use the anticipated surplus for a pilot program of the municipal police division.

“Unfortunately the measure failed. I also proposed to prohibit GPD from using their budget on executive security, so additional officers can remain on the force. Another failed amendment," Moylan responded. "My request is simple: I would just like to know if there is a plan in place and to please share that plan with the public." 

Moylan noted Adelup’s public safety townhall meetings held over the summer is expected to result in a plan of sorts to address the public’s concern. 

“Providing some details and displaying some action would go a long way towards building back the confidence of the community. If the same emphasis on prioritizing the placement of Christmas lights at Skinner Plaza would be applied towards addressing the public safety dilemmas, more of our residents would be able to sleep better at night.”

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