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Temp changes at DPS made to upgrade TCF standards

Commissioner of Public Safety Tuaolo Manaia Fruean has again issued a memorandum noting “dishonesty in job performance, immoral behaviors and/ or alleged criminal conduct” against some of the Correction Officers at the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

The Department of Public Safety moved forward with temporary assignments within the department to resolve the recent issues at the TCF, according to a memorandum issued last Friday, effective the same day.

According to the memo, following a staff meeting with Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli on July 25, 2012 who strongly emphasized the need for an urgent solution to the problems encountered at the TCF “to wit — dishonesty in job performance, immoral behaviors and or alleged criminal conduct in which some of the Correction Officers were... allegedly involved.”

Tuaolo made the following changes within DPS: Lt Ioasa Pese who’s in charge of the MCSAP Enforcement Unit is temporarily re-assigned to the TCF, while Lt Fautua Maiava is temporarily assigned to over-take the MCSAP enforcement unit.

Lt Fasi Ta’ase with the Patrol Division with the Central Police State is re-assigned to the TCF, Lt Arieta Salanoa with the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is now re-assigned to the Patrol Division.

Traffic Police officer Hesedth Sopoaga is now re-assigned to the CID while Police officer Nancy Toloafa with the Patrol Division will be re-assigned to the Traffic Division.

Tuaolo said “given the arising circumstances surrounding the TCF daily operations, I am very confident that the new assignments for the aforementioned Lieutenants will upgrade the current standards as required by the Correctional Facility in maintaining harmony and their safety for the Correction Staff as well as the inmates population”.  

In the meantime, Outspoken Vice Chairman of the Multi-Disciplinary Team and parole Board member Ipu Avegalio Lefiti told Samoa News the ongoing problems at the Tafuna Correctional Facility go right back to the Commissioner of Public Safety.

“Why? Because  the TCF is where the Commissioner sends DPS undesirables.” 

Lefiti said of the inmates who escape from the TCF — “it is bizarre how easy it is for them to just walk out or jump the fence.

“I can imagine how they laugh at how long it takes before the police realize they are missing. It is the inmates who are having the last laugh at our inefficiency and making us look bad, she said.

Lefiti added that if TCF is where the Commissioner continues to send DPS’s undesirables there will continue to be security breeches, escapes, and criminal rampages. While inmates are on the loose, civilian casualties will be the norm until order across the board in DPS is established and restored, she said.

Lefiti further noted that several years ago an inmate brutally attacked another inmate with a machete  and a female inmate was blamed.

“What they fail to realize is that with lax security, inmates are allowed to handle machetes and other farm tools that can be utilized as dangerous weapons. “TCF has a history of poor security... contraband, drugs etc. are still found in their cells.

“Inmates are easily escaping from confinement to continue with their burglaries, drinking binges, assaults, car jacking etc. The last assaults with deadly weapons have been brutal,” she noted.

Instead of focusing on the inmates and what they are capable of, let’s look at the caliber of the security force and their effectiveness she stated.

 “Unfortunately, accountability, training and effective leadership in enforcing professional duty and integrity does not stop with the Warden,” said Lefiti.