Acting governor Ralph DLG Torres said erstwhile Department of Public Safety commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero’s transfer to the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management had much to do with his expertise in obtaining federal grants than anything else.
“In the past months, we have been given a strong reason to support our first responders to improve our resiliency against future natural disasters. I have faith in James Deleon Guerrero’s abilities to support the needs of our first responders through his experience and success in acquiring federal resources for the cause,” he said in a statement to the Saipan Tribune yesterday.
The former CNMI top cop was appointed acting special assistant for Homeland Security effective yesterday, Dec. 17. He replaced Marvin Seman at HSEM, who resigned last Dec. 7.
Taking Deleon Guerrerro’s place at DPS is Robert Guerrero, who before yesterday was the commissioner of the Department of Corrections. Torres said Guerrero’s cadet program at DOC is a model program that can be emulated at DPS.
“I know that Department of Public Safety is in good hands with Robert Guerrero who has showcased strong leadership and implemented necessary reforms to the Corrections system,” he said.
Ultimately, the reshuffling of the top posts at HSEM, DPS, and DOC, which also includes the promotion of Capt. Jose Pangelinan as acting Corrections commissioner, will benefit the people of the CNMI, Torres said.
“These departments are interconnected in many ways and I feel that this new organization of leadership will serve the best interest of our officers and first responders,” he said.
In a statement, Deleon Guerrero looked back at his accomplishment at DPS.
“Over the past three years, a lot of focus was made in improving the working environment for employees, recruitment of individuals with higher learning credentials, development and implementation of new policies and procedures, advocating for new legislation in support of law enforcement, and improving the relationship our department with all state and federal law enforcement agency partners,” he said.
Deleon Guerrero said DPS’ partners could see the results of these efforts whenever they visit DPS Central today.
He also expressed a bit of melancholy for leaving his post at DPS.
“Throughout my commissionership, I’ve made decisions that were both popular and unpopular in the department. Some were happy while some were disappointed. However, rest assured that all of the decisions I made…were done so in a manner where I wholeheartedly believed that what I was doing was in the best interest of the DPS. I am saddened that I am leaving behind a department with many of the most loyal groups of men and women I have ever known. So much work remains unfinished at the DPS.”
Deleon Guerrero said he is comforted by the fact that he is leaving the department with a successor whose ambitions and vision closely parallels his own.
“Today [Wednesday], I met with all of the DPS directors, commanders and supervisors. I thanked them for their sacrifices, cooperation, dedication and commitment to our department. I was grateful for their friendship over the 27 years that I’ve served at DPS. It has been a remarkable experience for me personally,” he said.
Deleon Guerrero said he had a very close working relationship with Guerrero while serving as DPS commissioner and that he fully intends to work even closer with him with his new assignment as the special assistant for HSEM.