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Monday, April 21, 2014

Acting commissioner: Changes at DPS will be incremental
New driver’s license project to meet national standards

Newly nominated Department of Public Safety commissioner Sgt. James C. Deleon Guerrero said he will start implementing incremental changes at DPS only after a thorough assessment.

Deleon Guerrero, in an interview with Saipan Tribune last week, said his predecessors at DPS have certain programs in place and that if he believes one particular program is running effectively, there should be no reason at all for him to change it.

If a certain program is not running quite effectively or efficiently, then he would like to focus on that, Deleon Guerrero added.

The acting commissioner cited two key areas—emergency police response and criminal investigations—that, according to him, need to be improved in terms of crime solving.

“I think that if we fixed those two primary components, then it goes a long way toward fixing the overall issue of the department willing to provide a sense of law enforcement services,” he said.

Deleon Guerrero, however, stressed that he is the commissioner not just for the police force but also for the fire division and motor vehicles.

DPS, he said, has already made tremendous progress with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and that he wants that to continue.

Deleon Guerrero is hopeful that in the middle part of the year, BMV will be able to introduce a new driver’s license system that will be compliant with national standards. He said the quality and the use of this driver’s license would be parallel with the rest of the nations.

The requirements to realize this project are quite extensive, he said, as they have to comply with various regulations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

He said there is already coordination between DPS and the CNMI Legislature so that certain laws are changed in order to conform with the federal Real ID Act.

“It is a process,” Deleon Guerrero said, adding that if the Legislature will act immediately, it would be a lot quicker for DPS to proceed with the project’s implementation.

A vendor is expected to come to the CNMI this week to install the new system at BMV.

Deleon Guerrero said they obtained funding for the project from U.S. Homeland Security as part of the driver’s license security crime program.

The new licenses, he said, will be “almost counterfeit free” as its security enhancement will meet national standards.

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