16 Aug 2016

American Samoa police leaving in extraordinary numbers

12:56 pm on 16 August 2016

Reports from American Samoa say a lack of pay is responsible for the extraordinary numbers of police officers leaving the force in recent months.

American Samoa police headquarters

American Samoa police headquarters Photo: Supplied

Our correspondent Monica Miller said rank-and-file officers believe salaries are too low and that they're not recognised for overtime during VIP visits or disasters.

She said the Public Safety Commissioner Save Liuato Tuitele's address to the Fono last week cited other reasons for their departure but the officers say otherwise.

"He gave the story; none of the resignation letters have cited low salaries or non-payment of overtime as the reasons why there's these resignations but that doesn't mean that that's not the real reason because the tendency would be to just have a very nicely worded resignation letter," she said.

"But I believe that the real story is from the cops themselves; they don't see a future here, they don't feel that police work is compensated fairly compared to other positions. And one of the things that a cop that I've talked to, a senior cop, has said 'you know they always say there's no money but when it suits the leaders, there's always money available'."

As many as 18 officers have left in the past three months when the usual attrition rate is two to three a year Mrs Miller said.

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