30 Dec 2013

American Samoa not ready for armed police force

8:25 am on 30 December 2013

The former Commissioner of Public Safety in American Samoa, Tuaolo Manaia Fruean, says the territory is not ready to have an armed police force.

The Department of Public Safety has this month received 24 Glock-17s, which only a select group of officers will have access to after extensive training and psychological testing.

But Tuaolo, who is now the Chief Election Officer, says there are a lot of factors that need to be scrutinised thoroughly before the department considers arming its force, including the psychological evaluation of police officers.

Tuaolo says he hopes federal officials are told to take into account the cultural, family and religious factors of the local police force, when carrying out a psychological evaluation.

He says federal agents should be aware of the factors that distinguish local police officers from those off-island in carrying out a psychological evaluation.