DPS officially opens newest substation in Leone
The newest DPS building — the Leone Substation West — was officially opened yesterday for operations and to provide assistance for the people on the Western side of Tutuila island.
The ceremony was opened with an invocation by Reverend Eteuati Toma from CCCAS, Leone while Master of Ceremony was Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli.
Among the guests who attended the opening ceremony were government officials, Senator Avegalio Aigamaua, Leone Representative Puletu Dick Koko, police officials and Captain Lima Togia, who will be the Commander of the new substation, located next to the ECE and Leone Dispensary on the Leone High School road.
Gov. Togiola Tulafono did the honors of cutting the ribbon to the new building, which has more than ten offices inside, including an office for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Fire Department, dispatch, conference and briefing room along with offices for the commanding officers of each shift and an office for the Commander of the Leone Substation.
There will be two fire trucks stationed at the new substation as well as ambulance.
Togiola commended DPS Police Commissioner Tuaolo Manaia Fruean for his keenness and commitment to the Department of Public Safety, pointing to one of the major issues was the reclassification of police officers, which the Commissioner brought up with the governor. It was something that had not been done by previous Commissioners, Togiola said.
Regarding the substation, Togiola said there were challenges and hurdles with this project, because initially there was no money to build a new substation, however the funding finally came from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The governor noted that the building was complete, however there was no funding for the parking lot, so they had to reach into the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds to complete the project.
The governor reminded the police officers their motto is to protect and serve the people of American Samoa.
Commissioner Tuaolo began by asking — what is the use of a new building when the phone rings ten times or more and yet the police officer is watching TV and drinking coffee — how effective will this police station be, if the police officers are not doing their duties?
He added that when he first became the Commissioner, he made changes which made some people within DPS unhappy, but he’s not worried because the new changes are to benefit the Department, not just a few, and he added that the personnel changes are not personal.
Tuaolo said when he first came on board at DPS, he was told by someone (whom he will not name) to just sit back, relax in his office and travel overseas — let others do his work for him. The Commissioner said he told this person that he would think about it for a week, but after that week, he announced within DPS that he would be there, and he would have an open door policy for all the police officers who wish to raise concerns and issues. He added that he would not accept any police coming into his office to rant about their fellow colleagues.
He said that he took the issue on the reclassification of police officers to the governor, who turned around and granted the request, for honest police officers.
Tuaolo thanked the village of Leone for allowing the government to build a police station on their land, noting that nowadays everyone wants money for everything, yet Leone gave this piece of land for the betterment of the territory and its people.
Director of Public Works, Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei told the gathering that the total project cost was $675,709. The construction started on the building in October 2011 and was completed early this month, by B&J General Construction.