Woman cop promoted to Assistant Police Commissioner

Another senior police woman has been elevated to the top echelons of the Ministry of Police Prisons and Correctional Services and taken on the role of Assistant Police Commissioner.

Police Commissioner Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil has confirmed the appointment of Papalii Efo Moalele-Lemana by the Cabinet as Assistant Police Commissioner.

Fuiavaili’ili said the promotion is well deserved and the Samoa Police Service is proud of her elevation to the top role.

“[Papalii] was confirmed by Cabinet on 16 June 2021 in FK(21)24 to fill the position of Assistant Commissioner of Police,” said the Police Commissioner.

“We are all very proud of her and we wholeheartedly welcome to her new role. 

“She is an excellent choice for the position: she has tenacity, professionalism and has vast proven professional experience in the Service.”

The daughter of the late Police Inspector Taimalelagi Peika Moalele Tuiletufuga, Papalii has been a police officer for over 20 years and currently oversees the Police criminal investigations division.

When contacted by the Samoa Observer for comments, Papali'i said she was humbled by her promotion.

"I am humbled by the opportunity given by the Cabinet to continue serving our country and the Ministry and this cannot be possible without the prayers and strong support of my family, especially my mother Tualagi , my husband and children and my siblings,” she said in an interview.

“It is tough working in a male dominant field, but when you're passionate about your work and love what you do, challenges mean nothing, when you set your goals and achieve them. "This milestone in my life is dedicated to my late father, Taimalelagi Peika Moalele Tuiletufuga who played a major role, that led me to where I am now.”

Papalii also singled out the role of the Police Commissioner in opening the door for more policemen to be promoted.

“I also want to thank Commissioner Fuiavaili'ili for paving the way for women and not  considering gender when it comes to our work,” she said.

“I also want to acknowledge the assistance of our Deputy Commissioners, Auapa'au Logoitino Filipo and Papali'i Monalisa Keti on and off the field.”

The daughter of Tualagi Moalele and Taimalelagi; Papalii hails from the villages of Sapapali’i, Apia and Siumu.

Commissioner Fuiavaili'ili told the Samoa Observer that Papali’i is well respected within the Police Service.

“[She] has an exemplary work ethic and is highly regarded in the Pacific region police community for her contributions in the advancement of gender equality in law enforcement,” he said.

“Another female in a very critical position in the police.”

It was during the term of current Commissioner Fuiavaili’ili that Samoa saw its first female Deputy Commissioner Papali’i Monalisa Keti.

“Women in the Samoa Police have never held so many powerful and critical positions in the history of this agency,” he said.

“It's been a long time coming and I have never been so proud of their work and contribution to enhancing and developing our country's police force.

“They earned it through merit...not because they're of a particular gender, their work and credentials speak for themselves.”

In 2020 Papalii was named as one of Samoa Observer's People of the Year. 

She was the Head of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Women’s Advisory Network.

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 in earlier interviews with the Samoa Observer.

"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".

Out of the 21 countries that are part of the P.I.C.P. Samoa has the highest number of female police officers. There are more than 700 Police Officers and close to 200 women.

Papalii is a mother-of-two, Baker and Princess Peninatauteleolevasapasefika and is married to Tomasi Tuua Lemana, a former Police Inspector who has since resigned due to the Police Policy against couples working together.

In 2018, Papali’i was promoted to Inspector and at that time dedicated the achievement to her 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.

Papalii 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.

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