The CNMI Office of Homeland Security has handed over to the Department of Public Safety four new vehicles and one gator utility vehicle all worth $158,000.
The CNMI Office of Homeland Security purchased the vehicles-two 2009 Nissan Xterra 4X4 and two 2012 Nissan Frontier four-door valued at $140,000 and a gator utility vehicle worth $18,000-through federal grants.
At a press briefing yesterday at DPS, Police Officer Jason Tarkong said a few months ago, DPS acting commissioner Ambrosio Ogumoro approached the CNMI Office of Homeland Security and asked for help regarding the department's shortage of vehicles.
“DPS is really short of vehicles and they keep breaking down. We need new vehicles,” Tarkong said, adding that Homeland Security stepped up and as a result, DPS acquired the new vehicles.
CNMI Office of Homeland Security special assistant Marvin K. Seman said three months ago, Ogumoro requested for a meeting to discuss the shortfall in DPS patrol cars.
“As part of our security and safe community initiative, we went ahead and partnered up with them. Through Department of Homeland Security grants we're approved to get vehicles to support the first responders so that they can address the critical needs of the community,” Seman said.
Seman said a week ago they received the vehicles so they had them all marked up and installed with sirens and lighting system.
DPS Patrol Section commander Capt. Pete Leon Guerrero said most of the cars at DPS that are really up to par are the federally funded vehicles for traffic.
Leon Guerrero said the patrol vehicles are all locally funded and that they are very thankful to Homeland Security for the funding for the new vehicles.
Leon Guerrero said because of the shortage of patrol vehicles, officers respond to burglary incidents that have already occurred.
“There's no high visibility because of lack of vehicles,” he pointed out.
Sgt. Arnold Seman, chief of the DPS Logistics and Support Unit and Koban Police Unit, said the gator, a specialized vehicle, will be used by police officers assigned at Koban Police to patrol the tourist district.
Seman said the other vehicles will be assigned to patrol and traffic officers.