3 Apr 2014

Debate on whether to arm police in American Samoa continues

8:49 pm on 3 April 2014

The Department of Public Safety in American Samoa is hoping to convince lawmakers of the need to arm police officers there.

The department has met with legislators to discuss the issue, citing the number of deaths caused by weapons, incidents in which police were shot at, and a limited police force serving a growing population.

According to Commissioner, William Haleck, forty officers will undergo psychological evaluations, and those who pass will be trained in the handling of less lethal weapons such as pepper spray, batons and tasers.

He says 20 officers will be chosen for gun training next year.

An attorney of the governor's office, Edwin Kamaoha, says the governor supports the plan with conditions.

"It's uncomfortable to the governor, it's uncomfortable to the people of American Samoa, a lot of the police officers are also uncomfortable with firearms. But at the same time, we are also uncomfortable with crime."

Edwin Kamaoha.