The Department of Public Safety is confident that the new bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program at the Northern Marianas College would help improve law enforcement in the CNMI.
DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero believes it would benefit the islands’ police force.
“Like any other career, when you start off with a two-year program and extend it to a four-year program, of course you get more out of the education system and that would [improve] our officers,” he said.
One of the improvements Guerrero expects to see in CNMI police officers who undergo the program is in report writing.
“As with any crime, it’s always the report of a police officer that makes or breaks a case, so the criminal justice program that our police officers will go through will improve their report writing and this will give them more course to avail of and make their law enforcement career a more…competitive [one],” he said.
The new bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice was established through a memorandum of agreement signed between NMC and the University of Guam last Thursday.
At one point, an increase in the salary of officers with a bachelor’s degree was mentioned but Guerrero said that’s not certain.
“I’m not sure about the pay because that’s regulated by the Civil Service Commission,” he added.
Guerrero said he would still encourage his officers to take the program to elevate their education.
“We’ve been pushing our officers to take more courses. …With this program here, they can avail of them here at NMC so this is a plus for them. Since the program is here, they can be working and taking courses at the same time,” he said.