Canines Recognized as Part of GPD Force

by Jenna G. Blas
GHS/OCD

The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense (GHS/OCD) and the Guam Police Department (GPD) will be recognized by Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio’s office in a ceremony for the recent acquisition of two (2) explosives detection canines (K9), purchased by GHS/OCD for GPD. The recognition ceremony will be on Friday, November 3, at 2:30 p.m. at the Ricardo J. Bordallo Governors Complex, Large Conference Room.

The two K9s were purchased under the Homeland Security Grant Program’s Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Activities Program, totaling $29,964.22 ($14,982.11 for each K9). The investment allows the preparation, through active training, and the maintaining of strategic detection activities with military and other law enforcement entities on the island.

The purchase included 160-hours training and nationally certified K9s with a 5-year re-certification. A memorandum of agreement is in place between GHS/OCD to ensure GPD properly cares for and handles each K9.

One K9 is a German Shephard, named Halo and the other, a Belgian Malinois, named Kuro. The K9 handlers are Officer Andrew Atoigue and Officer Keith Corpuz who are certified K9 handlers. The K9 instructors are Lt. Troy Lizama and Officer Brian Awa, who both undergo annual certifications.

The K9s arrived on Guam in April 2017 and added value to GPD’s K9 force. Currently, GPD has four K9s trained for narcotics and patrol detection. The two newly acquired K9s will fill the need for explosive detection.

The primary first responder to Terroristic Conduct (bomb threats) incidents throughout the island is GPD. Currently there are three explosive detection canine response teams for the island of Guam: U.S. Air Force Security Forces K9 Unit, Navy Police K9 Unit and A.B. Won Pat International Airport’s K9 Explosive Detection Unit. All three require executive level approval before explosive detection support outside their areas of primary responsibility. The time it takes for executive level approval can be lengthy. The acquisition of explosive detection canines for GPD would fill the critical detection gap in areas where the other three K9 units do not have primary responsibility and allow GPD to respond to real world explosive threats. Deployments of the K9s will provide protective security measures for events in the community and play an active role in the prevention of possible catastrophic events.

“We first recognized the need for explosive detection during the string of bomb threats over a year ago,” stated Charles Esteves, Office of Civil Defense Administrator. “It was a lengthy process to acquire the K9s, but well worth the wait to increase the island’s protection and response capabilities. Like many of our projects, it takes time to research, draft and submit our work plans and investment justifications, receive funding, go through procurement, close-out the project, and re-evaluate periodically. We thank the public for their continued patience as we increase preparedness.”

“The Guam Police Department has had a long history of collaboration with Guam Homeland Security and the Office of Civil Defense,” stated Chief of Police, JI Cruz. “The purchase of these dogs is key in helping keep our community safe. Both Kuro and Halo have been assisting the Mandana Drug Task Force with initial sweeps of a residence and in trying to detect improvised explosive devices when serving search warrants. During two separate search warrants, Kuro was successful in locating firearms in the residence. They are trained and will respond to any terroristic threats and can sanitize any sporting events or functions. We look forward to the continued collaboration between Guam Homeland Security and the Office of Civil Defense,” Chief Cruz concluded.

For more information, contact GHS/OCD Public Information Officer, Jenna G. Blas at (671) 478-0208 or via email at jenna.g.blas@ghs.guam.gov.

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