Last night, our friends over at ABC15 published an article which highlighted ASUPD’s lack of staffing, and how the City of Tempe is fed up with footing the bill for ASU’s problems.
TEMPE, AZ – For years, ASU has borrowed resources from Tempe Police Department and the City of Tempe for special events. However, that free ride will soon come to an end.
Lt. Mike Pooley says Tempe Police Department and the city of Tempe absorb the costs when ASU borrows resources from them.
Often times, Tempe officers help with football games and events.
However, the university and Tempe police department are working on an mutual aid agreement where ASU will pay for the extra resources.
“Right now we’re in the beginning phases of resources that ASU will pay for and what resources Tempe Police Department will pay for,” said Pooley.
Currently ASU has 78 patrol officers, which is less than the recommended amount for the size of the university.
The 78 officers cover all of ASU’s Tempe, Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix, and West campuses.
According to the President of International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) David Perry, universities are encouraged to follow the same FBI formula for staffing that other city police departments follow. Essentially it’s 2.1 officers per 1,000 students.
According to the equation, ASU should have around 153 patrol officers.
However Perry says the formula can be tricky because often times a college has to deal with the hand it’s given.
“They’re strapped in a tough position between getting the professors, academia and resources they need for the university and at the same time that they can spread those funds out.”
Besides the FBI equation, a university can also determine its staffing levels based on environmental factors, enrollment size and how many properties it has.
ASU declined multiple on-camera interviews from ABC-15 on this matter.
Michelle Rourke, a spokeswoman for ASU gave the following data for patrol officers at ASU:
July 2014 – total sworn: 78
January 2014 – total sworn: 74
July 2013 – total sworn: 66
July 2012 –total sworn: 65
Julie Newberg, also with ASU, released this statement:
“ASU is working in close conjunction with the Tempe Police Department on numerous efforts to address student safety. These include the party patrol, Safe and Sober campaign, DUI taskforce and traffic enforcement. The Tempe Police Department will join ASU Police Department personnel on campus for back-to-school and move-in events to convey safety messages to students.”
It’s about time ASU ponies up cash to pay Tempe PD for all the resources the city expends during football season! Most of the traffic control–from directing traffic in pedestrian heavy intersections to closing down roads–occurs within Tempe’s jurisdiction. It’s extra time, money, and staffing Tempe has to spend to ensure an event that they receive NO funding for and doesn’t even occur in their jurisdiction runs smoothly. If the tables were turned and ASU had to foot the bill for another municipality, you better believe money-hungry ASU would ask to be reimbursed. Therefore, it is only fair that ASU stops mooching off the city, and pays Tempe PD for using its resources. After all, it’s not Tempe’s fault ASUPD can’t properly staff its special events.
As for the lack of staffing on ASU’s four campuses, you might recall in January, we posted a link to a Department of Justice study that analyzed staffing at university/college campuses. In the post, we illustrated how grossly understaffed ASUPD in comparison to the student populous. ABC15 recently revisited this issue, and also asked ASU officials to comment on the low staffing numbers for the PD. In lieu of agreeing to an on-camera interview, the university released a vague”statement”, and interim Assistant Chief Michele Rourke released the staffing numbers to ABC15.
What “Assistant Chief” Rourke failed to mention, however, is how ASUPD doesn’t really have 78 “patrol officers” because the majority of the people in the aforementioned number are assigned to duties OTHER THAN patrol!
The 78 officers that work patrol incorporates: 7 officers in training who are NOT able to work as solo units; 3 chiefs, 5 commanders, 17 sergeants, a K9 handler, 3 detectives, a special events officer, and a crime prevention officer…NONE of which engage in regular, routine patrol duties as one of the primary functions of their jobs! The vast majority of these positions are either supervisory in nature or incorporate desk work for the majority of the work day, so they aren’t “on patrol”.
When you subtract the new officers, administrators, supervisors, and people assigned to other duties, you’re left with about 40 officers to patrol 4 campuses twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. That number also doesn’t account for officers who may be out on sick leave, vacation, training, comp time, etc. Therefore, at any given time in the BEST case scenario, ASUPD has a mere 40 officers on patrol. THAT’S IT!
For the largest public university in the country with crime rates on the rise, only having 40 officers working in a patrol capacity is unacceptable! Promoting more and more people to interim positions in an already top-heavy department is operational suicide; there needs to be LESS administrators and MORE boots on the ground. This staffing issue has morphed from a nuisance to a legal liability, and unfortunately, it will only get worse until ASUPD retains competent leadership.
When shit hits the fan on patrol, is Thompson or Rourke going to be rolling code for backup? After all, that would require they find/wear their duty weapons, leave the comfort of their air conditioned office, and actually get their shiny patent leather boots dirty.
Here’s a redacted current schedule for Days and Nights that shows the truth of the staffing issue on the four Arizona State University campuses. The 400 badge numbers are not patrol units. The 500 badge numbers not available for patrol are noted.