Lolo rescinds memo that appointed Tauese as Police Chief

Last Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, Governor Lolo M. Moilga issued a General Memorandum that rescinds a prior memo issued in 2014, which appointed Tauese Va'aomala Sunia as Chief of Police for the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Lolo's memo follows a Sept. 29th memo issued by DPS Commissioner Le'i S. Thompson that transferred Tauese to the Territorial Correctional Facility to serve as warden beginning last Monday (Oct 2). See story, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017.

According to Lolo, the 2014 memo is rescinded, "in light of the current efforts by the new leadership of the Department of Public Safety to restructure the department along with the reassignment of personnel with special skills, experience, and leadership history to bolster the effectiveness of the agency to improve the safety of our people and to meet the growing public safety challenges."

He said the action is necessary to accord the new Police Commissioner the "opportunity to implement new public safety plans dedicated to improve public safety services by upgrading and boosting the capacity of law enforcement personnel, transform the operating culture within the department, and to restore public faith in the integrity of our law enforcement system."

Lolo continued, "The action by the Commissioner responds to our repeated directive to all departments and agencies of the American Samoa Government to reorganize and reshuffle personnel, not only to improve cost effectiveness of government operations, but also to ensure that the quality of services to our people is appreciably improved."

According to the governor, "With the increasing onslaught of law malfeasant behavior against our children, our people, our society, our community and our territory, it behooves us to transform our law enforcement infrastructure to ensure that it has the ability and the capacity to combat these criminal elements.

“Drug use, drug trafficking, human trafficking, social abuses, senseless killing and terrorist activities are running rampant, thus our law enforcement system must constantly evolve to sustain its interdiction and protective effectiveness."

He said there has been constant public outcry over the inability of the Correctional Facility workforce to manage its operation to diminish public concern and mounting fear of those living around the area.

Last Monday was Tauese's first day as warden of TCF.  He was appointed as Chief Police Officer under an executive order issued by Lolo on Dec 02, 2014, and he continued serving as Police Chief when Le’i took over as DPS commissioner earlier this year.

Former warden Vaipuna Foifua was transferred to the Central Police Station.

Le’i told Samoa News that senior personnel reassignment is part of DPS’ strides over the last nine months to improve their service to the community, through investment in professional development training in areas of respective disciplines.

According to a report on talanei last week, Tauese said while he will carry out the directive by the Commissioner - for him to step into the position of warden - he is filing a grievance based on professional grounds, nothing personal.

He will also challenge the appointment of Falanaipupu Taase Sagapolutele to the position of deputy commissioner, saying that based on experience, qualifications, seniority, physical, and psychological standing, he prevails over the appointee.

Samoa News should point out that in the memo assigning Tauese as the TCF warden, he was never referred to as the Chief of Police, despite holding the title at the time of his re-assignment.

Also, comments on the website have said the warden assignment is perceived as a ‘demotion’ — and questioned the reason.

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