Barnett, Dueñas on Public Safety: If they need more, we’re going to give it to them

Speaker Therese Terlaje. and Sens. Chris Barnett and Chris Duenas listen to chief of police Stephen Ignacio discuss the crime problem.

The following is a news release from the Office of Sen. Chris Barnett:

Public Safety Chair Senator Chris Barnett commits to doing more for our island’s public safety after exchanging ideas that will lead to action with the Guam Police Department’s top brass, today. This, after Chief of Police Stephen Ignacio sat down with Chairman Barnett, Vice Chair Senator Chris Dueñas, Speaker Therese Terlaje and Senator Tom Fisher.

The conversation served as an informal ice-breaker between the head of the island’s premier law enforcement agency and members of the 37th Guam legislature. Topics ranged from the crystal meth epidemic, response time, visibility and staffing shortages caused by recruitment and retention issues. Committee members listened as Chief Ignacio painted a dire picture of current affairs at GPD. “I need more to do more,” Ignacio said.

“It’s clear our police officers need more support,” Barnett said. “Our police work hard and put everything on the line to protect and serve. But we need more of them.”

The Chief indicated that standing up a multi-agency task force to combat crystal meth could be the answer if manpower shortfalls are addressed in a meaningful way.

Vice Chair Dueñas added, “I want to express gratitude to Senator Barnett and our members on the acceptance of my proposed legislation of the Multi Agency Unified Law Enforcement Group (MAULEG). I want to extend a thank you to our island’s Chief of Police, Stephen Ignacio, for seeing the importance in codifying this task force into LAW! Together, we can make this happen!”

“We have big ideas to address the crime wave crashing on our community,” Chairman Barnett said. “But if we’re plagued by top to bottom officer shortages at GPD and other law enforcement entities, the ideas we have for solutions will never get off the ground. We must work urgently to protect an island under siege and show our people that we are doing everything in our power to keep them safe. We have more robberies, more murders and more drugs than I’ve ever seen. So, if Chief says he needs more to keep fighting crime, that’s what he’s going to get.”

Recent measures to address recruitment and retention at GPD through pay increases have fallen short, according to the Chief. He also shared with lawmakers that recruits struggle to pass the high school equivalency test. The Public Safety committee vowed to tackle both problems, but Barnett said that doesn’t mean anyone is off the hook.

“I understand that resources are always going to be a problem,” Barnett said. “But our government has to do more to protect us from criminals who have no fear and no problem threatening our lives and our way of life.”


  • Isn’t it that somewhere in the law it is supposed to be 1 police patrol per 2000 population? That means for the northern area with 60,000 population, they should have at at least 30 patrolling at any given time. But they have only 5, sometimes 4 or 3…lol. How can we win the war! Been like that for decades. Talk, Talk, Talk.

  • Richard Burkhart

      04/30/2023 at 6:18 PM

    The vehicle license plates are now being covered by plastic.
    The plates can not be read from the side or short distance away.
    Hit an run, tags expired and civilian help is very limited when it comes to helping police efforts.
    The plastic is growing rapidly.
    Never seen so many plates covered.
    It’s illegal to cover the plate.
    Sellers of plastic and buyers should be given a fine.
    And plastic should be removed immediately for community sake.

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