NEWS | April 30, 2019

Army Reserve partners with local police force in American Samoa

By Staff Sgt. David Overson 305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The U.S. Army Reserve recently opened the very first Modular Small Arms Range in American Samoa. In true partnership form, the local American Samoa Police Force may now also use the MSAR following the signing of a memorandum of understanding, which took place at the Pele U.S. Army Reserve Center, April 29, 2019. 

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Douglas F. Anderson, 9th Mission Support Command commanding general, along with American Samoa Attorney General, Talauega Ale, and the Commissioner of Safety, Le’i Sonny Thompson, signed the MOU establishing a partnership between the Army Reserve and the American Samoa Police Department. 

Former U.S. Congressman Charles Djou, the senior civilian attorney for the 9th Mission Support Command, spent the better part of the past year establishing the groundwork and shaping the MOU prior to the signing.

“The Federal Government encourages the U.S. Military to let other agencies use their facilities when not being used by the military,” said Djou. “This is the perfect partnership between the Army Reserve and the local American Samoa Police Department. It saves the local community tax dollars and ensures the police department will become certified with their weapons.” 

The MOU may literally save local lives, as previously the American Samoa Police Department did not have any shooting range to use on the entire island. Now they’ll be able to utilize the range to hone their firearm skills and fulfill their civil obligations in a more safe and secure fashion. 

Djou’s understanding of the necessity for the MOU comes from both a legal and military perspective. Like many Citizen Soldiers, he wears multiple hats. He’s also known as Lt. Col. Djou, the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate for Theater Support Group – Pacific.

“This is a win win situation,” added Djou. “The Federal Government has already paid for the facility, so it helps the common tax payers of American Samoa. As long as the Army Reserve is not using the MSAR, State and local agencies can now get their much needed range time in.”

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