Samoa Ex-Police Association President Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia presenting the awards to the four officers
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2016: Four police officers have been awarded for bravery in serving the country despite the hardship and risks they faced.
In a special ceremony today to remember the police officers who have passed on, a special mention was made of the service rendered by four police officers Se’ese Fidow, Malu Fagalele, Iakopo Leifi and Alesana Ieremia.
The officers were involved in an incident at Mulinu’u peninsular in December last year where a young couple and a 5 year old boy drowned at sea.
Police recorded that the couple were swimming with 2 young boys, however, the strong current swept them further out to sea.
Corporal Alesana was who works as a traffic officer was the first police officer at the scene and after calling for back-up, went in to assist the couple.
He said the current was very strong and the heaviness of the police uniform he wore made it difficult for him to swim faster.
“I knew I could not save all four of them but as I tried to reach them, I lost sight of the couple except for the young boy who I thought was on the man’s shoulder,” said Alesana.
He grabbed the boy and started to swim back, but he too was losing out to the strong current.
Alesana said at that time, he saw his fellow police colleagues struggling against the current. Only the young boy was saved but the couple and the other child drowned.
All four police officers were admitted at the hospital and Alesana spent longest time for medical care.
“Although I am honoured by the award, the lives that I could not save sometimes haunt me,” said Alesana.
President of the Samoa Ex-Police Association Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia presented the awards to the four officers, while former Police Commissioner Aoe’e Asi Blakelock presented certificate of recognition to relatives of those who have passed on.
Also recognized for their service at police leaders were those who served as Commissioner and Superintendent to the police.
Among them were former police Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners and Inspectors.
· Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo – former Police Commissioner
· Siligatusa Semi Lesa – Assistant Commissioner
· Manu Tuiomalo Falaula – Superintendent and FESA head
· Sifuiva Sonny Epati – Superintendent
· Gaono Jack Schmidt – Inspector
· Fetu Taalili – Sergeant
· Sa’u Jack Chadwick – Inspector
The Minister for Police Sala Fata Pinati acknowledged the service rendered by the police officers.
“The ministry wants to acknowledge the service rendered by those who have passed on, to the people and country,” said Sala.
“There are times when your name is forgotten, but the work you have done lives a mark or reminder of you,” he said.