21 Jun 2005

American Samoa's police force set for shake up

1:14 pm on 21 June 2005

There is to be a shake up of the police force in American Samoa.

The territory's governor, Togiola Tulafono, is proposing sweeping changes to the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the police, after what he calls years of unjustified promotions and favouritism.

The governor says past commissioners have shown little regard for rewarding experienced and qualified officers, while others are favoured for no good reason.

Togiola says this has led to a top heavy police force that carries more sergeants, lieutenants and captains than rank and file.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says the governor is not happy with the way the police force has been run in the past.

"These promotions were done so that people who were favoured by those in charge, could get pay raises. The other thing that he has found out is that a lot of the very experienced officers; because they were not on the commissioner's good side, they were relegated to duties that didn't put some of their training and expertise into practise."

Monica Miller says the governor plans to introduce legislation which would set officer ranks and salaries in the department by law, and that any promotions would have to follow set criteria.