Am. Samoa Public Safety Department Shuffles Personnel

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Tafuna prison warden reassigned to head Records Office

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, Dec. 2, 2013) – "Due to the urgency for the improvement" of American Samoa’s Department of Public Safety (DPS), Police Commissioner William Haleck has made several personnel changes, including the removal of prison Warden Lumana’i Maifea from the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF).

The changes are noted in a memorandum leaked to Samoa News over the weekend. The memo was disbursed on Friday afternoon and the changes went into effect yesterday.

Urgency to improve the DPS, while not elaborated on in the memo, Samoa News points out that to date, there have been numerous breakouts from the TCF as well as Corrections officers that have been criminally charged and convicted for allowing inmates to leave the TCF compound to go shopping for items like alcohol. In addition, police raids on the prison — at least two in the past 6 months — have netted contraband items like cell phones, alcohol and large amounts of cash.

According to the memo, TCF Warden Maifea is now assigned to head the Records Office, a move that is being questioned by some DPS officials. Maifea is to report to the Chief of Police Vaimaga Maiava.

Efforts to contact Haleck and Maifea for comments were unsuccessful as of press time yesterday afternoon.

Captain Fo’ifua Fo’ifua Jr. who was the Commanding Officer in Charge of the Tafuna West Substation replaces Maifea.

Fo'ifua's role at the Tafuna West Substation is now with Captain Muagututi'a John Cendrowski.

Lt. Siaosi Aiono who was with the Criminal Investigation Division, is the new head of the Traffic Division and he is to report to the Chief of Police.

Lt. Maturo Ta’afua who was with the Leone Substation has now been reassigned to the CID. He is to report to CID Commander Lavata’i Ta’ase Sagapolutele.

Other personnel changes include the removal of Captain Fuamoli Ah Mu and Simeamativa Maloata from the Juvenile Detention Center to the TCF.

Lt. Pene Ta'afua from the TCF is now assigned to the Juvenile Detention Center. In addition to the new role, Ta'afua will also support Mara Brown, a counselor with the Juvenile Detention Center who will administer all the Juvenile Detention Unit Programs.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Haleck has confirmed that Lt. Solova’a Mageo has been suspended without pay for 30 days, effective last month.

In an earlier interview with Samoa News, Haleck said Mageo's suspension was a result of an internal investigation which uncovered a lot of "dishonesty in carrying out sworn duties and so much more."

Haleck said that initially, he was looking at recommending termination for Mageo; however, he opted to suspend him.

He pointed to a folder that was on his desk, which contained over 500 pages compiled from an internal investigation of Mageo, but declined to go into details.

Haleck said there were two other officers whom he has recommended for termination to the Human Resources Director: Vaughn Sagapolutele and Rocky Tua.

"Vaughn asked for a hearing and we gave him a hearing date but he did not show up and we are pursuing termination. Likewise for Tua, he was acquitted of the charges filed against him, but I can terminate him administratively," said Haleck.

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