PEOPLE OF 2020: Papali'i Efo Moalele
Twenty years ago, Papali’i Efo Moalele never imagined following in the footsteps of her father, the late Police Inspector Taimalelagi Peika Moalele Tuiletufuga.
But now Papali’i has been fighting her way to the top of a male-dominated field - not just for herself, but also for all the women in policing.
Despite her current position among Samoa's top brass, it wasn’t always easy for Papali’i in policing.
The daughter of Tualagi Moalele and Taimalelagi Peika Moalele Uipo Tuiletufuga Liuomavaega, Inspector Lemana is from Sapapali’i, Apia and Siumu.
Ten years into work, Papali’i encountered some of the darkest times in her career where she was charged by her own peers in a high profile police brutality case.
However, after the trial, Papalii was convicted of misdemeanour assault and was later discharged without conviction.
Given a second chance, Papali’i is now focused on her career; she has turned her life around and climbed the ladder.
She was this year promoted to oversee the Criminal Investigation Division.
Papali’i was the Head of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (P.I.C.P.) Women’s Advisory Network (W.A.N.).
In those roles and every day, Papali’i has always been a voice for gender equality within the Police force.
"We emphasise the importance of empowering women in a male dominant workforce like law enforcement, which, of course, is a priority of the Women’s Advisory Network,” she said.
"But good examples should come from the Commander and for Samoa our Commissioner, considers merit over everything else.
“Fuiavaili'ili sees us as Police Officers enforcing the law, he does not distinguish based on gender".
Of the 21 Countries part of the P.I.C.P. Samoa has the highest number of female officers.
There are more than 700 Police Officers and close to 200 women in the force.
Papalii is a mother-of-two, Baker and Princess Peninatauteleolevasapasefika and is married to Tomasi Tuua Lemana a former Police Inspector, who had since resigned due to the Police Policy against couples working together.
In 2018, Papali’i was promoted to Inspector and at that time dedicated to late father who retired as an inspector from the Police force.
“It’s a bittersweet moment. My father passed the same week I received news that I would get the title from which he decided to retire from the Police force,” she said.
Inspector Lemana was among the 105 Police officers who were recently part of a promotion across the Police force.
Six officers were promoted to the rank of Superintendent, 10 became Inspectors, and 15 as Senior Sergeants, 34 as Sergeants and 40 officers became Corporals.
Lemana and Va’alele Tofa were the only women who were promoted to the Inspectors ranks.
According to Inspector Lemana, her father retired from the Police force after serving 37 years as an Inspector.