The Guam Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission approved an interim set of physical fitness standards for peace officers while it works on a permanent set of fitness standards.
(Scroll to the bottom of this story for the current fitness standards and the proposed interim standards.)
Public Law 32-232 requires peace officers to be tested for physical fitness by December. The fitness qualifications currently in place — based on Air Force fitness standards — have been hurdle for peace officers, and officers who don’t pass the fitness test are at risk of decertification and losing their jobs, agency heads previously said.
To avoid potential decertification of officers, the commission asked lawmakers to change the law. Sen. Telena Nelson, D-Dededo, said Thursday she hopes to introduce a bill this week to amend Public Law 32-232.
The measure will include the interim standards the commission approved Thursday.
Can walk mile
The interim standards require a one-mile run, instead of the current 1.5-mile run. The interim standards also allow peace officers to walk the mile. The time limits to pass the test are based on age and gender.
The commission expects to have a permanent set of standards in July 2018.
“The research and development team should come up with a standard that’s agency specific,” said Joseph I. Cruz, Guam Police Department chief.
Because the missions for the police department differ from other law enforcement agencies like the Guam Fire Department or Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, the fitness standards should be different as well, according to Cruz.
2020 proposed for full implementation
Law enforcement agencies will need until July 2020 to fully implement the permanent, agency-specific fitness standards, according to Cruz.
After full implementations, officers will be held to the new standards, Cruz said.
“If after that date, those officers, firefighters, corrections officers are not in compliance, then the decertification does kick in,” Cruz said.
Without any consequences, peace officers are not going to comply, he said.
“We do see there needs to be a standard. We do see that if there are no consequences to this standard then it’s kind of like just issuing a ticket and saying it’s ok to speed and not have to go pay a fine.”
The commission on Thursday also elected new leadership during its meeting. Cruz will take over as chairman, succeeding Bob Camacho, chief of airport police. Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Chief Vincent Perez will remain as vice chairman. The commission would also like more autonomy to regulate itself, said Alberto “Tony” Lamorena, commission member and director of the Department of Corrections.