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Acting DPS Police Commissioner reshuffles personnel


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The recent reshuffle within the Department of Public Safety has raised concerns by police officers over the lack of communication on the changes made by the Acting Police Commissioner Fo’ifua Vaipuna Jr Fo’ifua.

However, other police officers told Samoa News the changes were warranted as there was a need for a high ranking officer to oversee the busiest Police Substation — located in Tafuna, the West Substation.

Samoa News reached out to the Acting Police Commissioner on several occasions but efforts were unsuccessful, including a visit to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) office and calls to Fo’ifua’s cell phone but to no avail.

The changes are outlined in a general memorandum dated Nov. 28, 2022, which was obtained by Samoa News.

Fo’ifua, in his memo ordered that effective immediately, Major Ruta Letuli is assigned to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) while Captain Poutoa I’amanu is assigned to Leone Police Substation (LPS).

Other changes follow, according to the memo:

DPS Officer Birthleen To’a is assigned to LPS;

DPS Officer Filomen Fe’a is assigned to the TPS;

Patrick Tuvale is transferred from Central Main Police Station (CMPS) in Fagatogo to the Traffic Unit and is to report to Major Tolia Solaita;

Captain Haserota Mata’u is assigned from the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) to the CMPS in Fagatogo and is to report to Major Fau Maiava for assignment;

Lieutenant Iapani Tiumalu, who was stationed at the TPS is reassigned to the CMPS and to report to Major Fau Maiava;

DPS Officer Faatiu Lepou is transferred from the Traffic Unit to the CMPS and is to report to Chief of Police Pouuamea Supapo; and,

Former Deputy Police Commissioner Falana’ipupu Ta’ase Sagapolutele, from the TCF, is to oversee the Trans-national Crime Unit.

“I trust that you will ALL adhere to these Personnel Assignments as stipulated in this Order,” said Fo’ifua.

In the memo, the Acting Police Commissioner denotes Sagapolutele as ‘Commander’, despite his transfer to TCF as Warden, while ‘Deputy Commissioner’.

Last year Police Commissioner, Lefiti Pese told Samoa News the appointment of deputy police commissioners is at the discretion of the police commissioner.

He explained at that time when the governor appointed Le’i Sonny Thompson to the police commissioner post, he appointed Commander Sagapolutele as the new deputy police commissioner.

“Now, Sagapolutele is assigned to take over the TCF Warden’s role, so right now, he’s no longer a deputy police commissioner but he still holds his rank of police commander,” Lefiti told Samoa News at the time.