Commissioner of Public Safety, Save Liuato Tuitele maintains that the DPS budget is not enough to ensure that the territory is safe.
The Commissioner, along with his deputy Vaimaga Maiava and Finance Officer, Salaina Tulafono appeared at the joint budget hearing to discuss their proposed FY2017 budget.
Manu’a Representative Vesi Talalelei Fautanu Jr. asked the commissioner if he has requested the governor for any changes in the DPS budget to address some of the problems it’s encountered.
Save said he did.
He said he proposed an allocation to pay police overtime.
But the commissioner said nothing he requested was approved. In fact DPS is getting the same amount of operational funding that it’s receiving in the current fiscal year.
Save told the lawmakers that he did not get anything he proposed approved in fact, they are getting the same amount of operational funds they received during the last fiscal year.
The commissioner said he understands that the government is trying to budget its finances based on priorities.
As of today, police officers are still paying for their own uniforms.
Security vests or reflectors are worn out and they are looking at perhaps tapping some funds from the Highway Division to buy new vests for police officers especially the patrol officers.
DPS currently has 13 vacancies which the commissioner explained are positions which require special training under an academy.
The vacancies are within the Fire Department and the Territorial Correctional Officer.
Save said 3 of the vacant positions have been filled by former police officers who left and have returned.
Senator Soliai Tuipine told the budget hearing there is nothing they can do to the budget approved by the Governor.
He suggested that the DPS officials be dismissed and in the meantime the Commissioner consult with the governor for an additional appropriation for DPS.