DPS evidence room has not seen improvement since 2015

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Posted on Apr 23 2019

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The Department of Public Safety’s evidence room that was destroyed back in 2015 as a result of the onslaught of Super Typhoon Soudelor has not seen any improvement in the past three years.

The Office of the Public Auditor will be inspecting DPS’ evidence room in June and, according to DPS Commissioner Robert Guerrero, there has been nothing done in terms of its recovery.

The last inspection was done back in 2015.

“For the last three years, it’s the same findings it’s always been. Nothing has been done since Soudelor,” he said.

Guerrero said that he has already voiced his frustrations about the matter and has even brought up the issue with higher-ups but nothing has been done. With Guerrero as the DPS chief, that effectively means the Office of the Governor.

“Until that gets fixed, I will continue to bring it up,” Guerrero said.

Aside from the evidence room, Guerrero said that OPA also cited five other issues with DPS but they have all been resolved.

“We resolved all the OPA findings. Out of five or six that were found, we resolved all of it except for that one [the evidence room] and if we don’t get that building fixed, that problem will remain as a finding,” he said.

Guerrero said that funding is not the issue because it should be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the responsibility to rebuild the facility lies with the Office of the Governor.

“I don’t believe [it’s a funding issues]. It was destroyed by Soudelor so that’s a FEMA issue and, from my understanding, the money is there. Unfortunately, we don’t take care of the procurement or services or materials to fix the building so that’s where the problem exist. The authority to act on that is under the Governor’s Office directly,” he said.

Currently, the DPS fitness room has been serving as the temporary DPS evidence room.

“We need that [evidence room]. Right now, the facility that’s being occupied as an evidence room [is] actually the physical fitness facility for our officers and their families,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista Bautista
Kimberly Bautista is the youngest in the stable of Saipan Tribune reporters. She has covered a wide range of beats, including the community, housing, crime, and education, for the Saipan Tribune.

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