Public Safety out in full force to keep peace today
The Election Office will once again have the Department of Public Safety provide and ensure security of the Election Office, its polling stations and officials during the run off election today. While it is a much smaller poll event from the general election held Nov. 6, where 5 gubernatorial teams ran, as well as faipule for the territory — security is said to be still high.
The run off election between Team Faoa and Taufete’e and Team Lolo and Lemanu is believed by many in the community to be a hotly contested race, with last ‘waves’ on the side of the road in Utulei and Matu’u, by each camp respectively, held yesterday afternoon for over 4 hours, causing a hugh traffic jam.
Transportation of ballot boxes and the safety of all Election officials for the run-off today was noted in a special order issued by Commissioner of Public Safety Tuaolo Manaia Fruean.
According to the order, there will be no liberty for all Patrol, Criminal Investigation Division, Traffic, Marine Patrol or MCSAP officers.
Commissioner Tuaolo has assigned Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli to oversee this enforcement with the assistance of Police Chief Vaimaga Maiava. He said in the order that the Run Off Election Enforcement is from Nov. 20, 2012 at 3:00 a.m. until Nov. 21, 2012 at 7:00 a.m.
The Commissioner reminded the police officers that they are also charged with maintaining the peace throughout Election Day today. He reminded everyone that there will be no alcoholic beverages sold today — Nov. 20, 2012 — from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tuaolo noted in the memo that the Department of Public Safety is to assist in this matter by bearing extra duties and responsibilities during the general election.
There was no mention of overtime to be paid for bearing the extra work in the memo. Samoa News notes that many of the officers used during the General Election were an overlap of a DPS safety program running concurrently with the election hours on that Tuesday and were paid from a federal grant. The program had begun the week before, highlighting driving safely — officers checked for DUIs, safety belts, speeding, and other safety issues.
The memo states that the Enforcement Day Shift will begin at 6:00 a.m. and the night shift will commence at 6:00 p.m. It also states that the traffic and patrol Division will be charged with escorting the ballot boxes from and to the election office.
Thirty police vehicles have been assigned to be used in this enforcement, while 32 were assigned in the General Election on Nov. 6th. While Samoa News is unable to get an exact number of police officers used during the General Election, it notes that over 70 officers will be used in the Run Off Election throughout the changing shifts noted in the Commissioner’s memo. This is said to be more officers than used in the General Election.
Commander Taase Sagapolutele has been assigned to oversee and assign CID Detectives in providing security for the Main Election Office headquarters in Tafuna.
Fire Chief Kilifi O’Brien is in charge of maintaining the readiness of the Fire Bureau and on standby to assist the Patrol Division if needed.
All Support Services Bureaus will carry out their regular duties, except those who were sworn as police officers and will be temporarily assigned to the Patrol Division during this enforcement. Captain Tulele Laolagi with Marine Patrol will provide assistance to the Patrol Division.
For the Central Police Station, Captain Lima Togia has been assigned as Commanding Officer. He will be assisted by Lt. Maturo, Lt. Uia and Lt. Maiva, who will be assisted by 17 police officers with the day shift.
Captain Togia with the night shift is to be assisted by seven police officers and the morning shift has Lt. Salanoa as commander working together with seven officers during general election.
The West Sub Station has Captain Fo’ifua as Commanding Officer and Lt. Mageo will be working with 11 police officers, while the night shift has Captain Pou Supapo and Sgt Vaina Vaofanua with eight police officers. The morning shift has Lt Letuli manning 12 police officers.
At the East Sub Station, Captain Tavai is the Commanding officer with Sgt. Leo overseeing the day shift with four police officers; night shift is when Senior Police Officer Alaimaleata who will be working with four police officers and morning shift has Sgt Tuato’o working with two other police officers for the general election.
The Traffic Division has Captain John Cendrowski as Commanding Officer with the assistance of Sgt Mary Leiato and Sgt Utumoe Alefosio who will be working together with four police officers on the main highway.
“I am confident that you will all perform your duties to the utmost of your abilities and dedication to ensure that we have a safe and successful Run-Off Election day,” said Commissioner Tuaolo.
The Commissioner in his order also reminded the Commanders and Watch Commanders to allow time for the police officers to cast their votes.