Gutierrez: Guam visitor security guards protect Tumon | Opinion

Hofa Adai! Once upon a time the village of Tumon had a crime problem, so we brought it under control with friendly police. Today, under the human leadership of Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, I am happy to report that we are starting all over again.

Even before I became governor in the mid-90s, snatching, muggings and vandalism were on the rise in our tourist mecca. So after I got elected, I sought advice from the Guam Police Department, Guam Visitors Bureau, and then DFS President Bob Coe to help me resolve the issue.

Carl TC Gutierrez

I tasked GPD Captain George Hernandez to lead the launch, and together we created the Crimes Against Tumon Tourists program, built the Tumon Police Station and Matapang Beach Park Koban, and sent ATV patrols.

Our friendly pedal CATT officers were armed with radios so they could communicate with police frequency receivers and private security teams across the resort landscape. Our cycling officers wore welcoming yellow polo shirts, khaki shorts and hard hats, rode in pairs, posed for photos and were supported by motorized police patrols.

CATT put a good face on things. Fortunately, a successful new program finally emerged in its wake when GVB hired security agency G4S to recruit, train and assign qualified personnel as visitor security officers.

Today, unarmed visitor security guards service checkpoints, walk beaches and roads, and cycle through Tumon. They take immediate corrective action when things go wrong, monitor suspicious activity, and actively engage visitors, drivers, beach goers, businesses and emergency responders as needed, whether threat levels are calm or alert flashing red!

Yes, even during Pandemic Preparedness 3, our beloved Visitor Safety Officers are making residents and a growing number of visitors feel safe again.

Thanks to the prompt action of the Visitor Security Officer and tandem tracking, a visitor to the village recently recovered a lost personal item of value. VSO Tana Meafou spotted a post from a social media user on Facebook asking if anyone had discovered a lost GoPro mini camera at Gov. Joseph Flores Ypao Beach Park.

Meafou asked the owner of the GoPro to contact the Visitor Safety Officer stationed in Ypao. While on patrol, VSO Marissa Boak found the GoPro in the outdoor showers in Ypao and quickly handed it over to the Parks and Rec Rescue Tower. Exceeding expectations, Meafou and Boak both followed up to make sure the owner got their camera back.

Just a few weeks ago, a beach patrol of a separate visitor security officer discovered two illegal landfills along Tumon Bay. Former Police Chief and current Supervisor of Visitor Safety Officer Paul Suba and Team Leader Christopher San Nicolas personally collected and disposed of trash and debris with assistance from the Tamuning-Tumon Mayor’s Office -Harmon, showing that no job is too small for leaders in action!

They also helped a homeless camper at these sites get help from the Mayor’s Office, Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness, and the Guam Homeless Coalition.

Special thanks to the Mayor of Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon, Louise Rivera, my First Vice-Mayor Albert Toves and their staff for always being there for our community when needed. And to Teresa Kasperbauer Sakazaki, G4S Country General and Commercial Director, Marianas, for her cooperative commitment to keeping Tumon safe.

I am especially grateful to our GVB staff for coordinating resources for safe results in Tumon. Dee Hernandez, Head of Cultural Heritage, Nakisha Onedera Garrido, Head of Tourism Industry Relations and Taylor Pangilinan, Assistant in Destination Development and Visitor Safety. ”Feel safe in the heart of our visitor area.

Former Governor Carl TC Gutierrez is Chairman and CEO of the Guam Visitors Bureau, Permitting Czar and Chairman of the Governor’s Economic Strategy Board. Send your comments or questions to GVB at communityrelations@visitguam.org.

This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: Gutierrez: Guam Visitor Security Guards Protect Tumon

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