Posted on Nov 27 2000

The Department of Public Safety is looking for sources of funding that will be used to help police officers learn the Japanese language.

According to Public Safety Commissioner Charles W. Ingram, police officers who are assigned in the Western Garapan area will need the language training to help them deal with majority of the tourists who are Japanese.

“It will be very helpful for the police force — from the simple task of giving directions to helping in accidents and attending to emergencies,” Mr Ingram said.

During the tsunami warning two weeks ago, police officers roaming around Garapan area had difficulty asking the Japanese tourists to transfer to higher ground.

The DPS bike patrol is currently implementing its community policing program in Garapan which primarily aims to reduce crime in the tourist district and promote a safer neighborhood.

Instead of simply responding to complaints on crimes committed in the neighborhood, the police officers through the community policing program will implement crime prevention measures by forging partnership with residents.

Learning the Japanese language will help facilitate communication, promote trust and confidence between police and Japanese who own a big chunk of businesses on Saipan, Mr. Ingram added.

DPS is currently negotiating with the Marianas Visitors Authority for possible funding assistance on the language training of a select group of police officers who are dealing directly with Japanese.

With the Senate’s cut on DPS budget for Fiscal Year 2001 appropriation, Mr. Ingram said there is no way the department can implement any training since the $13.59 million budget is not even enough to finance police operations.

The budget cut came amid appeals made by the Senate to Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio to take immediate action in addressing the crime problem in the CNMI for the safety of the visitors and local residents.

The Senate resolution was passed in response to the travel advisory issued by the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs declaring the CNMI an unsafe destination for their citizens due to rising criminality on the island.

According to the advisory posted at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the crimes of theft, smuggling, murder and robbery are rampant in the Northern Marianas.

The Japanese advisory also cited many public places in the CNMI, especially Saipan, as unsafe due to crimes.

Japanese visitors are cautioned against leaving their valuables in cars at parking areas and walking in the streets of Saipan while holding personal belongings due to theft and snatching.

DPS has detailed police officers in areas frequented by tourists such as Marpi, Bird Island, Grotto and Obyan. (Lindablue F. Romero)

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