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Region 6 info sharing furthers relations with Samoan LE partners

Special Agent Michelle Kiyota, left, explains the proper use of dental stone, which enables the recovery of footprints, during the AFOSI FIR 6 SMB Subject Matter Expert Exchange with Samoan law enforcement partners Aug. 20-22, 2019. (FIR 6/SMB photo)

Special Agent Michelle Kiyota, left, explains the proper use of dental stone, which enables the recovery of footprints, during the AFOSI FIR 6 SMB Subject Matter Expert Exchange with Samoan law enforcement partners Aug. 20-22, 2019. (FIR 6/SMB photo)

Special Agent Richard Mink, holding flashlight, demonstrates the proper use of a handheld alternate light source to detect latent fingerprints, during the AFOSI FIR 6 SMB Subject Matter Expert Exchange with Samoan law enforcement partners. (FIR 6/SMB photo)

Special Agent Richard Mink, holding flashlight, demonstrates the proper use of a handheld alternate light source to detect latent fingerprints, during the AFOSI FIR 6 SMB Subject Matter Expert Exchange with Samoan law enforcement partners Aug. 20-22, 2019. (FIR 6/SMB photo)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations Field Investigations Region 6 Special Missions Branch conducted a Law Enforcement Investigative Skills Exchange with law enforcement counterparts in Apia, Samoa, Aug. 20-22, 2019.

The Subject Matter Expert Exchanges foster relationships with host nation law enforcement and boost information sharing. Attendees from the Samoan Ministry of Police included 20 specialists from their Forensics, Criminal Investigations and Traffic Divisions.   

“It is a fortunate opportunity that AFOSI is able to do our part in fulfilling our U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy priorities in partnering with Samoa Police Service brothers and sisters,” said Col. Vasaga Tilo, Jr., FIR 6 Commander. Samoa has a great strategic partnership bridge for AFOSI with Australia, New Zealand, and many of our other Pacific Island law enforcement partners throughout Oceania, which we look forward to continuing.

LEISEP was a five-day exchange highlighting U.S. Air Force methodology for assessing criminal threats, conducting criminal investigations and processing crime scenes. In conjunction with host nation law enforcement and security service personnel, discuss best practices, techniques associated with evidence collection and preservation, and documentation of crime scenes.

Topics for the SMEE included basic case management, basic forensic photography, evidence collection & preservation techniques, basic fingerprinting methodology, and crime scene sketching.

The SMEE improves understanding and increases interoperability of U.S. and host nation capabilities associated with forensics and criminal investigations and builds partnerships to support INDO-Pacific Command and Pacific Air Forces strategy in Oceania.

The Region 6 SMB is scheduled to complete several future SMEEs in Oceania, including Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

On a personal note, Col. Tilo added, “My mother was a native of Samoa before emigrating to the U.S., so I’m proud of my Samoan heritage and that we can support the Samoan Police Service.”