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Shake-ups continue behind the gates at TCF

Action by Commissioner of Public Safety, William ‘Bill’ Haleck against one of his police captains surfaced before the Equal Employment Officer earlier this month, when Haleck accused the captain of dishonesty, indifference, indolence and insubordination.


In December 2013 Haleck sent a “letter of reprimand” to the captain about her conduct and it served as her second and final warning. The letter was leaked to Samoa News along with the captain’s response to the commissioner. The captain was assigned to the Tafuna Correctional Facility and has been with the police force for more than ten years.


The first warning which was verbal— to her and other Tafuna Correctional Facility officers—came during a meeting where “I clearly expressed my concerns and displeasure regarding the existing acts of dishonesty, indifference, indolence and insubordination on the part of several TCF officers and Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) personnel,” Haleck informed the captain.


Haleck stated that he made it clear with Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli that this type of behavior will be not tolerated any longer and that people will be held accountable. “Be informed that the internal affairs section has been and is still conducting investigations regarding the above issues.”


The Commissioner stated that on November 29, 2013 he issued a Personnel Order regarding reassignments to be effective December 01, 2013. One of the assignments was placing Mara Brown in charge of administering all JDC programs with the support of Lt Pene Ta’afua. “However, you disregarded this order and essentially took it upon yourself to decide that you were in charge of everything at JDC.”


Haleck further stated that Internal Affairs learned of this and informed him and they met the next day. The Commissioner informed the captain that one of the reasons for the personnel changes at the JDC was because of her “job performance, which he (Haleck) viewed to be well below standard.”


Haleck pointed out to the captain that she “basically admitted” that she was “insubordinate to my personnel change order and asked to be given a chance to rectify your behavior and improve your performance.”


In response the captain wrote to the Commissioner noting that she finds these actions “arbitrary, capricious and abuse of direction. Further you have accused me of dishonesty, indifference, indolence, and insubordination. You also have stated that my job performance is well below standard. I find these accusations unfound and untrue,” she wrote.


The Captain noted that she felt this is defamation of character and does not understand what the Commissioner meant when he said that her job performance is below standard. “Therefore I ask you to remove this letter of reprimand” from my file…”


Haleck has made several personnel changes, including the removal of prison warden Lumana’i Maifea from the Tafuna Correctional Facility all “due to the urgency for improvement” at the Department of Public Safety.


At the center of this issue is a memorandum distributed on November 29, 2013 where Haleck made numerous personnel changes. While not elaborated on in the memo as the reason for the “urgency to improve the DPS,” Samoa News points out that prior to that date, there had been numerous breakouts from the TCF as well as the Juvenile Detention Center, and Corrections officers were criminally charged and convicted for allowing inmates to leave the TCF compound to go shopping for items, including alcohol. In addition, police raids on the prison — at least two in the past six months — have netted contraband items like cell phones, alcohol and large amounts of cash.