A Rota senator is seeking similar opportunities for Rota cadets at the Northern Marianas College to earn college credits upon completing the police academy course.
Noting that Saipan and Tinian cadets receive 39 college credits from NMC’s criminal justice program as part of their structured curriculum, Sen. Teresita Santos (Ind-Rota) told Department of Public Safety Commissioner Robert Guerrero in a letter dated Aug. 12, 2019, that she wishes the same opportunity for Rota cadets.
“The credits earned met more than half of the requirement to obtain an associate degree in criminal justice, which will greatly encourage and provide a solid footing [for police cadets] to continue to pursue their undergraduate degree. I would like to afford the same opportunity to the Rota cadets that recently graduated from the Rota Police Academy,” she told Guerrero.
“The importance of ensuring that all our law enforcement officers be at par when graduating from our academies will greatly prepare them to face the daily challenges and help reassure the CNMI public that all our officers stand ready to enforce our laws and to serve and protect our people,” she added in her letter.
When sought for comments over the weekend, the DPS commissioner noted that the department sees this as a “serious issue” and is trying to work with the college.
“…This issue with the Rota officers is a serious issue as it places them below the standard set to become a police officer. With that said, their report-writing skills and other skills that have to go before our judicial process may be below standards needed when prosecuting cases,” Guerrero told Saipan Tribune.
The commissioner further noted that the past four police academy cycles on Saipan have been accredited by NMC through their Criminal Justice Program.
“We are currently working with our NMC partners and [Santos], of course, in remedying this situation to ensure these officers are brought up to the standards that have been set forth so they will all be in the same level of qualification and training as other CNMI police officers,” he noted.