NMI has 12 new ports police officers

THE Commonwealth Ports Authority has new 12 officers — four from Rota, two from Tinian and six from Saipan.

The new officers graduated on Friday afternoon after five months of training and were sworn in by Judge Joseph N. Camacho at Fiesta Resort & Spa.

One of the graduates, Officer Juan Vicente Cabrera, was not around and his father received his certificate of completion on his behalf.

Variety was told that Cabrera had to escort his wife for a medical referral trip.

The academy’s valedictorian was Jonavin R. Ichihara of Saipan who also received the Tommy Alexander Award. The Top Gun awardee was Officer Paul Ruechoway while the Chief’s Award went to Officer Rudolfo S. Lazaro Jr.

“I feel pretty great that the hard training and the constant training for five months is over and I am also sharing my awards with my fellow graduates. It was a team effort,” Ichihara said in an interview.

“We all survived. It wasn’t just about me. I got these awards because of my team. If it weren’t for them I would not have gotten these awards so this is also for them,” the 24-year-old officer said.

He said the most difficult part of the training was the emergency response while the most memorable part was the shooting range because they were all relaxed and had a good time.

He said he and his fellow graduates are now ready to serve and protect the community.

Four of the 12 graduates are firefighters and they are Officers Ria Encia C. Borja, the lone female in the group, Willis Kani, Austin Maratita and Joseph Cepeda.

Borja and Cepeda are from Tinian while Kani and Maratita are from Rota.

Cepeda, 31, is the oldest in the group.

Borja, Cepeda, Kani and Maratita attended the Firefighting Academy and completed the training on April 6.

They took their oaths as firefighters and worked as firefighters for a month before joining the Ports Police Training Academy in May.

They said as firefighters, they are also required to take ports police training.

“On Tinian and Rota, if we are law enforcement officers there, we are also required to take another training for another law enforcement agency like ports police, and that’s why going through this training is not new to us because we’ve been through similar training already,” 20-year-old Maratita said in an interview.

Kani and Maratita joined the Firefighting Academy immediately after high school.

Both wanted to become firefighters but when they heard about the opening of the 16th Cycle Ports Police Academy, they got excited.

“Because this is another opportunity for us to become ports police,” Kani said. “The training wasn’t that hard. The training for firefighting was more intense.”

They said they are happy to serve their islands as firefighters and ports police officers.

“We are ready to serve,” said Maratita. “Having dual responsibilities is not really that complicated as long as you serve with dedication.”

He added, “This graduation really means a lot to us because completing two academies is not an easy task, especially because we’ve been away from our families for eight months.”

According to Kani, “We are here because of the call of duty and not because of the money. To be dedicated to our job is what will motivate us to keep doing our job, especially now that we are already full pledged officers.”

Borja, for her part, said she knows she has “big shoes to fill being a female but I want to set an example for everyone else that I can do it — that nothing is impossible and that you can do it if you set your mind to it.”

She added, “It was fun. I just had to make sure that I would never give up and that I could do it just like anyone else. It was really a dream come true when I became a firefighter as I really wanted to become a firefighter but to become a ports police officer is another thing — it’s fulfilling my dream. Becoming a law enforcement officer is the best decision I’ve made,” the 21-year-old officer said.

CPA board chairman Jose Lifoifoi said he is looking forward to seeing the new officers ensure the safety of the local airports and the passengers.

CPA board member Roman Tudela Sr. advised the new officers to take their jobs seriously and to protect the ports and the people, especially the travelers.

Another board member, Barrie Toves, said he is proud of the graduates especially Borja, adding that an officer’s job is not only for men but also for women.

“I am also proud that none of them gave up. I advise them to keep up the good work and to take their duties seriously,” Toves added.

Saipan airport manager William C. Camacho welcomed the new officers during the graduation ceremony while ports police chief Juan T. Dela Cru delivered the closing remarks.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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