Senator fires questions during DPS budget review about crime in Manu’a
Sen. Nua Saoluaga says some of the major problems in the Manu’a island group are break ins at homes and stores as well as other types of crimes with no positive results from police.
Despite these ongoing crimes, Nua says there has been no move by police to arrest anyone in Manu’a while residents there continue to suffer without any resolution to these illegal actions by others.
Nua raised the issue during last Friday’s fiscal year 2014 budget review for the Department of Public Safety, whose officials were asked by the senator what police are doing to arrest culprits and bring them to justice.
Deputy police commissioner Leseiau Laumoli, who attended the hearing, agreed with the issue raised by the Manu’a senator but pointed out that the problem for DPS is trying to get Travel Authorizations approved for police officers to travel to the island group to conduct the necessary investigation.
Laumoli hopes in the new fiscal year, the department can get officers TAs approved quickly for travel.
However, Nua was not satisfied as he insisted that police are not doing anything to curb crime in Manu’a or provide assistance to the officers based there. He says more needs to be done.
Nua then asked what DPS is doing to train the officers based in Manu’a so these officers can get promoted up the ranks.
Police Commissioner William Haleck, who also attended the hearing, replied that DPS has a program with plans to bring officers to Tutuila to be trained.
Nua then became confrontational with the DPS officials when he asked what DPS is doing to make sure that crosswalk markings are clear and streetlights are working.
Haleck said crosswalk markings on the highway and signs - such as speed limit signs - are the responsibility of the Department of Public Works under the law and all DPS can do is make recommendations which has been done.
Nua fired back, “you recommend, recommend and recommend, and nothing has been done”. He says DPS should do the work instead of just making recommendations. He also says there are a lot of streetlights not working in various villages including Nu’uuli. He urged DPS to look into these important issues.
Samoa News points out that street light issues also fall under the jurisdiction of Public Works working together with ASPA.