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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Regional crime lab pushed at MPEA conference

Micronesian police executives are pushing to finally realize the creation of a Guam-based crime laboratory to make crime solving in the region more efficient.

The proposed crime lab was among the top issues discussed by members of the Micronesia Police Executives Association during the two-day 5th MPEA conference at Saipan Grand Hotel’s Seaside Hall.

Palau’s Bureau of Public Safety director Hazime T. Telei told Saipan Tribune yesterday that no islands in Micronesia could afford their own crime laboratory.

“We have to work together to have that,” said Telei, who is also the former MPEA chairman.

Telei underscored the importance of having a crime laboratory in Guam, saying that islands in Micronesia currently send their evidence for analysis to the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory in the U.S. mainland. This is on top of evidence from other countries that are also being sent to the FBI lab, he said.

“Especially for small islands like Micronesian islands, when we send in our evidences, they’re going to be in the bottom of the [thick] files,” he said.

The proposed crime lab, Telei said, is very vital, especially in analysis of fingerprint and blood samples.

Telei said even Palau leaders—the president and governors—have offered help in terms of supporting the laboratory.

CNMI Public Safety Commissioner Rebecca Warfield said the lab project is not quite fully funded yet, but the design for the building has already been drawn.

Warfield, who is also the current WPEA chairperson, said the question before MPEA right now is exactly how equal the partnership among MPEA members is.

Guam spearheaded the crime lab because they have greater access to the federal funding. Under the MPEA proposal, the association will be partners in that endeavor with Guam.

Guam failed to attend the two-day MPEA conference that ended yesterday afternoon. Police chiefs from Yap, Federated States of Micronesia and Kosrae also did not come.

Aside from Palau and the CNMI, other members who participated the meeting were from Chuuk, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Pohnpei.

Besides the crime lab issue, Telei said another critical topic was how best MPEA members could help the CNMI in terms of Micronesians who live in the Commonwealth, “how can we help police here to make these other islanders who live here aware of the law here and the things that they to do.”

Telei said MPEA members are working together and that through this kind of meeting, “they get together and get closer.”

“Another issue that we will discuss is how Saipan can get information from Palauans who live here, how they can get criminal records from Palau for a particular crime. We’re working on that,” he said during a lunch break yesterday.

Telei said the two-day conference was very informative and that they shared some of the things that they accomplished in their respective islands.

He said they are learning from what Saipan is doing and what they are planning to do in terms of reducing crimes.

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