Samoa K9-unit is an initiative by the Government to develop a drug awareness attitude with in the law enforcement fraternity. The Police Department and Customs Department had yet to understand the enormous threat illicit drugs impose on a small island nation.
The government though troubled by the growing drug problem in neighbouring islands and the constant wave of rumours that hard drugs epidemic has become a reality in our own back yard. This has prompted the government to react and take adequate measures to contain any potential threat.
The government saw a faster way for both ministries to quickly learn about where they were in the fight against drugs. Therefore they decided to combine the two ministries in the detector dog program which is what we now call the “K9-unit”. Thus minimising the resources needed to support two separate dog programmes for the two respected ministries and to share reliable information for effective and collective coverage.
The K9-unit was established on the 1st of May 2007 with the tireless assistance by the Australian Customs Detector Dog program and the New Zealand Police Detector dog program. The unit consisted of 3 founding member’s senior sergeant Herbert Aati the police dog handler, assistant custom officer Bach Lene the customs dog handler and training co-ordinator custom officer Ietitaia Iosia.
The combine unit meant a joint responsibility to Police operations and customs border control. This with only two dogs the unit needed to select operational engagements to become more efficient and effective in the point of entry.
The K9-unit is currently deployed operationally at the international airport at Fagalii and Faleolo, the wharf at Matautu-tai, the mail centre and courier services, and the all registered freight stations around town. This does not include frequent police operation where the unit is generally required.