How ASUPD’s organizational structure is setting itself up for failure.

It has been mentioned repeatedly on this site that ASUPD’s organizational structure is causing a large majority of its problems. Bottom line: a department that is too top heavy isn’t able to function effectively; communication isn’t efficient/non-exsistant, and micromanaging (which creates different standards for different people, low morale) is allowed to flourish. The Harvard Business Review has written an article on this topic.

Another valley police agency, Gilbert PD, seems to have to right idea; by utilizing a “flat” organizational structure there are shorter lines of communication (but more work for command staff!). Gilbert PD has very few specialized units but rather expects patrol officers to be well-rounded, which puts more police on the street.

Let’s examine U of A’s police department structure versus ASU’s and see how ASU’s top-heavy structure limits the resources needed to carry out the mission on the ground level.

University of Arizona Police Dept. Staffing

40,000 students (72 sworn) 1 campus

Chief                                                     1

Commanders                                     3

 Lieutenants                                       3

Sergeants                                            12

Detectives                                          5

Officers                                                                48 (all on a patrol function)

Police Aides                                       20

If ASU had U of A student to officer proportions they would have a whopping 136.8 officers. How many do they have? Approximately 66 and falling. Yikes.

Arizona State University Police Dept. Staffing

76,000 students (66 sworn) 4 campuses

Chief                                                     1

Asst. Chiefs                                        2

Commanders                                     5

Sergeants                                            17

Corporals                                            8              (3 without a patrol function, so essentially 5. This is supposed to be a position for senior officers, but most corporals have far less experience than many officers.

Officers                                                                33           (6 without a patrol function), so essentially 27.

Police Aides                                       36

Add up how many supervisory positions ASUPD has! One supervisor per officer!

Unfortunately, any type of effective change must also involve a significant department restructuring to be fully functional.