7 Mar 2014

Armed American Samoa police to get psychological assessment

2:49 pm on 7 March 2014

The hiring of a psychologist to conduct a mental evaluation of police officers is the next step in American Samoa's Department of Public Safety's move to arm the local force.

The Department will also begin an outreach programme to help the public understand why it feels police need to carry weapons and the evaluation and training process that is involved.

The Commissioner, William Haleck, says the Department is hiring Dr Gene Anderson to conduct psychological evaluations of the 40 officers who will undergo training to carry weapons.

"I know that the public is concerned about this and I can assure the community and the public that I am not rushing into this thing and all officers have to be mentally and physically fit and be able to pass the firearms course and testing that is involved in this thing, at the rate of 100 percent, otherwise they cannot carry the weapon."

Mr Haleck says weapons training for the Glock 17 nine millimeter handguns that the Department has received will not begin until July or August.