12 Feb 2005

American Samoa Fono endorses police commissioner appointment

8:42 am on 12 February 2005

American Samoa has a new Commissioner of Police, for the Department of Public Safety, after a full endorsement by the Fono, despite the candidate's lack of law enforcement experience and education.

The former secretary of Samoan Affairs, paramount chief Sotoa Savali was appointed by Governor Togiola Tulafono as police commissioner and both the Senate and the House gave their endorsements yesterday.

During a Senate review of the nomination, Sotoa said the outstanding problem he found at the Department of Public Safety needing immediate attention, was the unpaid overtime pay of the police officers.

He said unpaid overtime pay caused low morale and other personnel problems.

Sotoa told the senators he was thinking hard about the need to isolate the department from the current Government payroll system.

He wanted the department's payroll to be on a different basis, because he sees the nature of law enforcement work by the officers as unique and more demanding.