NEWS | Nov. 20, 2020

Office of Special Investigations Hosts Subject Matter Expert Exchange with Federated States of Micronesia Police

By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Crisp 36th Wing Public Affair

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) 6th Field Investigations Region Special Missions Branch in Guam hosted a virtual subject matter expert exchange with members of the Federated States of Micronesia (FMS) National Police and Pohnpei State Police to discuss presumptive drug test kits Nov. 18.

The kits are comprised of pouches of one or more chemical reagents. Suspected narcotics are placed into the pouch and gently squeezed to crush a glass vial, releasing the chemical reagent. When a predictable color or series of colors occur within a specific testing sequence, a positive confirmation may be presumed. A forensic laboratory is then required to qualitatively identify an unknown substance before a positive identification can be made.

“These kinds of tests aren’t meant to prove, with 100 percent certainty, the existence of illegal drugs,” said Special Agent Andrew Cox, OSI 6th FIR. “But, the results may help build a case or develop probable cause, which can lead to search warrants. A negative result may also save time for law enforcement and suspects by quickly indicating the substance is not an illicit drug.”

The exchange was requested by the FSM Department of Justice to help with narcotics investigations, and was intended to help members of law enforcement build capacity and strengthen procedures in administering drug testing kits.

“It is common for defense attorneys to cast doubt on evidence during litigation based on the level of an officer’s training,” said Cox. “Giving the officers this knowledge exchange will help boost the officers’ credentials in the courtroom. Sharing this type of knowledge with law enforcement is a big part of what we do.”

This exchange is the continuation of a growing relationship between the Guam OSI Special Missions Branch and Oceania law enforcement community. Hilario Bermanis, director of the FSM National Police Training and Development Division, thanked OSI and the entire team for their continued support and assistance to their law enforcement community. The attendees agreed the exchange was very beneficial and should be conducted again soon, wanting additional patrol officers to experience it.

"There wasn’t anything in place for the presumptive tests. We built it from scratch for the exchange," said Cox. “We’ve done things like this recently, such as crime scene processing and COVID mitigation. Either through exchanges or trainings, the line of communication with law enforcement in Oceania is strengthening.”

The OSI Special Missions Branch personnel look forward to continuing this partnership to support law enforcement in the FSM.