25 Sep 2013

American Samoa police need protection says Commissioner

5:57 am on 25 September 2013

The Commissioner of Public Safety in American Samoa says police officers must be allowed to carry guns for their protection and that of the public.

William Haleck is in the process of setting up a training course where a small number of officers would first receive training in the use of weapons such as batons, pepper spray, and tasers.

He says the next step would be to train officers in firearm use and says participants would have to undergo extensive screening and psych evaluations before they would be considered for the course.

Mr Haleck says handguns are being smuggled into the territory so the police need to be able to protect themselves.

"The bad guys will always find a way to get the weapons in and we know for sure through intelligence that we've seen that there are handguns already here on island. A few months ago when we did a police raid in one of the villages and one of the suspects when we hit the place early in the morning, he was asleep with a 357 magnum."

William Haleck says the Honolulu Police Department has agreed to sell some of its used firearms to the Department of Public Safety next year.