New patrol vessel added to DPS Marine Patrol Division
With a federal grant of $400,000 the Department of Public Safety now has a new patrol boat which was unveiled during a ceremony held Wednesday at the Fagatogo Malae.
Governor Togiola Tulafono joined Police Commissioner Tuaolo M. Fruean and other DPS officials to officially commission the new addition to the Marine Patrol Division.
Commissioner Tuaolo, in his remarks, credited working closely with federal partners to secure the funds for this purchase. Since he assumed the post in 2009 Tuaolo said he has stressed compliance with all federal regulations, to his staff, and providing honest timely reports to grantors.
He believes compliance and honesty make federal grantors more willing to assist when there are additional requests for grants to help American Samoa. He cited as an example, the addition of more patrol vehicles for DPS' enforcement duties through one of their major grantors, the Federal Highway Safety Administration.
Capt. Tulele Laolagi, the head of the DPS Marine Patrol Division, applauded the new vessel's ability to reach the Manu’a islands and other areas at sea, which are under territorial jurisdiction which improves his division’s law enforcement abilities and possibly save more lives at sea.
Togiola “acknowledged with gratitude, the programs through the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Act that allow us opportunities such a this to enjoy wonderful tools that we can have in our possession to affect the work of our Department of Public Safety, not only to do their law enforcement duties but also to affect rescue and operations that assist the people to assure our safety in time of difficulty.”
He said the Coast Guard has been “one of our greatest partners in the area of law enforcement” and thanked the Honolulu-based Coat Guard District 14 - which oversees American Samoa, Hawai’i and other U.S. Pacific islands.
It has been a “great partnership” enjoyed by American Samoa over the years in his administration. “I have received nothing but great cooperation” not only from the Commanding Officer of the 14th district, the Captain of the Port of Honolulu - which oversees the Port of Pago Pago - and all Coast Guard personnel, including the Marine Safety Detachment Unit based in the territory, Togiola said.
He announced this weekend on his radio program that DPS was recently awarded a grant of $500,000 for improvement to the traffic safety information system.