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The new DPS DUI Task Force

Four Department of Public Safety officers who completed and passed the Police Motorcycle Instructor Final earlier this year. The training was overseen by two Arizona State Troopers (pictured, center) who were part of a delegation that arrived earlier this month to conduct DUI courses for over 30 local cops. The police motorcycle instructor course was an add-on to the ARIDE training course and resulted in the off island instructors staying a week longer. [SN file photo]
Looking at eleven motorcycles to be on the road

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Adding another layer to the Territory’s fight against alcohol and drug abuse, a Department of Public Safety motorcycle squad is currently being trained to establish a DPS DUI Task Force.

Police Commissioner Le’i Sonny Thompson told Samoa News, “… DUI is a person who is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. So we are moving forward to make sure we have the right tools to tackle those who are dealing with alcohol and drugs.”

Over 10 police officers from DPS are participating in the training that’s now underway at the Office of Motor Vehicles in Tafuna.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Le’i said, “We’re looking at establishing a motorcycle squad from this training so that we can establish our DUI Task Force within our department, and we are looking at eleven motorcycles on the road right now.

“The main focus is to get our police officers certified. Police officers need to be well equipped to carry out their duties and without training, they will not be able to expand their knowledge on how to fulfill their tasks.”

Lt. Tolia Solaita, who was recently certified with several other police officers, when three federal instructors were on island to conduct an ARIDE & DWI TRAINING, is conducting the 4-week training.

Le’i said, “As you know we now have the Vice & Narcotics Unit to deal with drugs, so part of this training is to become drug recognition experts.

The Police commissioner is hoping that before the end of this year, DPS will being together their DUI Task Force and continue to move forward.

As part of the ongoing training to establish the DUI Task Force, Le’i said that several police officers would attend training in the states, in April of this year.

“We’re working together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the FBI National Academy and many other federals agencies, to help provide training for our men and women. We’re also sending our police officers to train at the Federal Motorcycle Squad and become certified to do the job,” he said.

“These are a must … we need to continue with these trainings. There’s no question about things happening on our shores and we need to go with the time and make sure the general public feels secure and safe, not only on the highway but also from domestic violence and public disturbances in schools, villages and homes.”

Le’i pointed out, “Our duty is to make sure the whole community is safe. As I mentioned before, police officers will always be seen on the road everyday to make sure the public is safe.”

He concluded, “So our motorcycle squad team will be led by senior officers and individuals … to protect our people — day and night — to combat the alcohol and drug problem in our territory. I just want to let the community know that we’re very serious and we mean business.”