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Arizona State University has named acting police chief Michael Thompson to take over a department that has struggled with staffing, morale and questions over use of force against a university professor.
Thompson, 47, has been leading the department since July.
In June, the university announced then-chief John Pickens was stepping aside to take on a new role as executive director of University Security Initiatives after 14 years at the helm.
Thompson, a native Arizonan, has been with the department since 2008 and most recently was an assistant chief. Before that, he worked for the Mesa Police Department for 20 years.
“Overall, the department does a good job keeping the community safe,” he said in an interview Friday with The Arizona Republic.
His goals include increased engagement with the community and making sure the department is meeting people’s needs, he said.
The department was thrust into the spotlight this summer after a video went viral of an ASU police officer arresting a university professor. The confrontation prompted debate over whether the officer used excessive force and whether English professor Ersula Ore was targeted because she is Black. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The police department also has had difficult staffing all its patrol shifts. In September, a story in The Republic detailed how the department struggled to schedule a full complement of patrol officers, failing to meet its own requirements a majority of the days during the spring semester.
As a result, supervisors had to either pay overtime, reassign someone from another job or leave positions on a shift vacant. The department couldn’t say how often it left a post empty on any given patrol shift.
ASU has hired more police officers this year to bolster department resources.
The department had 74 full-time sworn officers on June 30. Thompson said on Friday the number of officers is 87, which includes five who are in police academy training.
“We’re doing pretty good,” he said.
An anonymous blog, called the Integrity Report, which details the inner-workings of the ASU Police Department, was pushing for ASU to bring in an outsider for the position.
The university conducted a national search, but Morgan Olsen, ASU’s executive Vice President and chief financial officer, said in a statement that Thompson has proven his leadership skills through a range of past jobs and more recently as acting chief.
“We are confident he will build on his career experience and personal attributes to be an exceptional leader,” Olsen said.
Thompson said he brings advantages having already worked at ASU. He knows the university and the surrounding community.
“There’s a lot of things I can hit the ground on running,” he said.
In a move that surprised no one, ASU announced today it was promoting interim chief Michael Thompson to the top cop spot at the university. Thompson’s promotion has sent a clear message to ASUPD’s employees that the department will continue to press on with its head in the sand, unable and unwilling to acknowledge any problems such as staffing, morale, and lack of adequate training.
Thompson stated his goals for ASUPD included “engaging with the community” and “meeting [other] peoples’ needs”, despite the fact that the department is in the midst of a meltdown and is barely able to function. Noticeably absent from his list of goals are ideas that pertain to his own employees, such as improving departmental morale and increasing employee retention. Thompson’s desire to put his own agenda ahead of the department’s needs sound reminiscent of the Pickens-era attitude of shameless self promotion.
Yes, more bodies have come through the door, but for how long? In the Chief’s Advisory Board meeting minutes from December 2013, Pickens was bragging about having 5 more police officer recruits; of those 5 recruits, only half are left at the department. Including your police recruits amongst the total number of sworn officers is not only deceiving to the public, it is just a bold-faced lie to designed to inflate the number of employees. Clearly, Thompson has yet to learn from the mistakes his predecessor made and shouldn’t be counting his chickens before they hatch, so to speak.
The only advantage Thompson had over the other candidates is that he knew how to appease ASU’s administrators (Olsen, Crow) by playing politics and kissing ass. He has no more insight into the university and the surrounding community than the external applicants did. If Thompson did truly understand the needs of the ASU community, he would be actively working to solve issues that concern ASU’s students, faculty–such as having a safe, secure campus. Instead, Thompson has done little more than stand by while Tempe PD proactively reaches out to local residents.
Looking busy while someone else actually does the hard work seems to be the mantra that Thompson lives by nowadays….that seemed to work out fairly well for John Pickens, too.
We’ve been LABOURing over this cabinet report LEAK about the financial black hole emerging in the city’s white elephant BRT bus project.
The report that we’re publishing and which has no council managers’ name anywhere near it to take ownership and responsibility for the shambles, lists a series of overspends due to the inflated FINANCIAL DEMANDS of corporate civil engineering firms for work on the Ashton Vale – Temple Meads bus route.
So far, before any work has even begun, costs for works on the Ashton Avenue Bridge; bridges at the Bathurst Basin due to Fergo’s rerouting plans and on the so-called “Cumberland Busway” (Cumberland Road to me and you) amount to £9.12m MORE than was originally budgeted for.
The council’s proposals for covering these losses are equally interesting.
One plan is to shave £2.4m off the budget by a REDUCING FLOOD DEFENCE measures along the New Cut on Cumberland Road.
Another is to TARGET PEDESTRIANS and not bother with street lighting, except at bus stops, over the whole route. Another is to inexplicably “reduce the cost of city centre work” for the BRT scheme by £1.1m. Yet more corners cut then.
Another is to simply reallocate £1.5m to “OTHER SCHEMES”, which is likely to be transport budgets – so don’t expect any new pedestrian crossings any time soon in your community.
Yet another is to “reallocate” £0.4m from the CYCLING AMBITION FUND and spend it on the Bathurst Basin bridges. In other words money for cycling will be spent on buses!
A further £1.1m will be absorbed by “ADDITIONAL FUNDING”, whatever that is.
Is all this legal? Council budgets raided and tax payers money diverted – in secret – to corporations on the authority of unsigned confidential council cabinet reports?
The full report is here: BRT leak
Having tried and failed to award corporates NEXTERRA and BALFOUR BEATTY planning permission for a biomass plant in Avonmouth under DELEGATED POWERS he didn’t have and then, just days later, apparently ‘losing’ all the paperwork relating to the episode, King Prawn’s now trying to RIG the information going to councillors on the planning committee considering the application.
Over the last few days, 56 Avonmouth residents have signed and dated LETTERS on paper objecting to the plant and delivered them to the council. This brings the number of objections from Avonmouth residents to well OVER 100 in the space of just TEN DAYS.
Meanwhile, the only letter vaguely in favour comes from Tory councillor and Port of Bristol employee WAYNE “DEE” HARVEY.
Entirely coincidentally – and despite it being a GLARING OMISSION in the King Prawn’s planning report – between 50- 90 per cent of the wood for the biomass plant is likely to be IMPORTED for a fat fee through the, er, port!
However, in a crude attempt to REDUCE the number of formal objection letters from residents, King Prawn has listed these 56 letters as a PETITION! Conveniently reducing the number of objections by around 30 – 40 per cent!
One local resident told The BRISTOLIAN, “I hope Calabrese understands that many of us here in Avonmouth are taking his conduct personally. He has utter contempt for us and has shown us nothing but disrespect and proved he doesn’t give a toss about Avonmouth residents, our families or our health.
“He cares about big corporations making big money off our backs. If planning permission for this cancerous death plant is passed on the basis of the false and misleading information he has supported and rubberstamped throughout this process, he can rest assured we will be holding him personally accountable.
“You can’t lie, cheat, hoodwink and mislead a whole community in Bristol without consequences.”
Please – someone – can’t you put everyone out of their misery here and just fire this revolting little corporate shill as a matter of urgency?
We’re away tomorrow so we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a massive happy vegan day! It seems as years go by more and more people are boycotting meat, dairy, eggs, leather and all other items manufactured from the animals that are just basically being exploited for commercial gain.
We all know a vegan diet/lifestyle is brilliant for your health, the environment, encouraging conversations from people you meet who find out you’re vegan and then want to prove that it’s a) a waste of time, b) prove that something you have on you isn’t vegan, c) enquire about your dietary preferences if you were ever stranded on a desert island, d) enquire about your protein needs or e) all of the above. But let us not forget that the main reason most people have for eschewing animal products is to protect animals from death, torture and exploitation.
Suggested PM vegan day playlist!
Anyway, sorry for the rant but have a great Halloween and an even better vegan day tomorrow!
Cheers! Fran & Zoe X
Caroline from Cake Liberation Front and Quiet Loner
TV Smith -Cutbacks
King Champion Sounds -Breadlines and Deadlines
Thisclose -The Price We Pay
Inca Babies -Absolute Leader of the World
Quiet Loner -What Do Vegans Eat? (Live In The Studio)
Udarnik -Be Prepared
Bloodhound SSC is an engineering project that aims to break the 1000mph World Land Speed Record with a rocket-propelled car. Since starting in 2008, the project has been widely praised for its ambition and technology. However, an interview given by the project’s Senior Design Engineer in April this year suggests that the project was only set up to address a skill shortage within the military. Besides that UWE is heavily involved to serve the military, drawing on the recently published “Arms to Renewables” report by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), UWE student highlights broader implications for employability and sustainability.
Read more on UWESU’s newspaper.
Despite its military origins and rationale, Bloodhound’s glossy image is rarely associated with the military. This is one of the few pictures where this is visible. From left: the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Team, Defence Minister Philip Dunne, driver Wing Commander Andy Green and Bloodhound Director Richard Noble pose with a model of the Bloodhound SSC [Picture: Sergeant Adrian Harlen RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012] // Credit: Bloodhound SSC website
Echo is a non-profit political events and news site. Echo hopes to provide opportunities for struggle against oppression to grow by increasing participation in demonstrations, events, organised groups, and fundraisers.
Visit the site here: http://echomanchester.net
Until 19th December
The Great War – myths and realities uncovered
The Working Class Movement Library’s exhibition, The Great War: myths and realities, opens on Wednesday 6 August. It explores topics such as Salford’s response to the outbreak of war, the strength of the anti-war movement locally and nationally, what happened to the campaign which had gathered momentum by 1914 to get the vote for women – and the realities of trench warfare.
On this anniversary of the start of the First World War the Library wants to commemorate it, but to do so honestly. The exhibition introduction states: ‘We will not remember the “lost” or the “fallen”. We will remember 16 million dead whose lives were not given but were taken from them by politicians and generals’.
Veronica Trick, a member of the volunteer exhibition team, said: ‘By camouflaging this hideous event with heroic language we make the next war more likely. We believe that there is only one morally acceptable way to remember WW1 and that is to look honestly at past wars to develop strategies for the prevention of future wars.’
The exhibition is open during the Library drop-in times, Wed-Fri 1-5pm, until 19 December.
Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, M5 4WX
Friday 31st October
Saturday 1st November
We’re holding a vegan fish and chips night in support of our SEA LIES campaign.
Entry is £10 and includes for the night:
Vegan fish and chips
Raffle entry with amazing prizes!!
Talk and video on SEA LIES
Come down and join us for the night!
7.00pm The Basement, Next To Nowhere, 96 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY
Friday 7th November
Subrosa November Pub Quiz
7.30 for 8 o’clock start.
Get there early to ensure sufficient pizza gets to you…
SubRosa, Lloyd Street South, Manchester
Saturday 8th November
Sunday 16th November
CANCELLED: Scared, Boredom, Hospital Food and more TBC
Kings Arms, Bloom Street, Salford
Saturday 29th November: Manchester
Any what’s ons?
NOW ‘ADVICE’ TO A CHAIR OF A PLANNING COMMITTEE HAS BEEN ‘DISAPPEARED’!
Until around the 20 October, Bristol City Council planning officer ANGELO “KING PRAWN” CALABRESE was set to make an unconstitutional delegated decision to give planning permission to the Nexterra/Balfour Beatty AVONMOUTH BIOMASS PLANT.
However, a major u-turn ensued after an outcry from an unholy coalition of The BRISTOLIAN, members of the public, MPs, prospective parliamentary candidates and councillors of all parties demanding that this decision went to a planning committee as the King Prawn’s OWN GUIDELINES demanded.
The BRISTOLIAN has already remarked that KING PRAWN‘s conduct and – by association – his boss BARRA MAC“ NUGGET” RUAIRI‘s conduct of this process looks extremely dubious.
So to further explore what had been going on, a Freedom of Information request was put in:
Dear Bristol City Council,
The above planning application is to be decided by officers under
1. Please can you provide me with any information held in any form
by Bristol City Council as to why this application can be
considered under delegated powers.
2. Please can you provide me with any information held in any form
by Bristol City Council and provided to the chair of the relevant
planning committee, Cllr Alex Woodman, by city council officers as
to why this application can be considered under delegated powers.
And back, in a matter of days, came a reply from someone called Steve Knight, masquerading under the minimalist job title, ‘Place’:
This application is being determined at committee level on 5^th November
2014 rather than under delegated powers. As the information is not held,
we are therefore unable to have that information communicated to you.
The application details are available via the council’s Planning online
. The details of the committee meeting will be available a week before the
committee meeting via
“The information is not held”. How strange. Because on 18 October, the chair of the planning committee, Alex Woodman, announced on Twitter:
How, one wonders, did councillor Woodman offer his opinion about something for which no information exists?
Of course this information exists. How could King Prawn have possibly formed any opinion, communicated it to a variety of third parties and got to within two days of making a decision otherwise?
So what’s happened to this information? Has it been lost? Mislaid? Shredded? Rest assured The BRISTOLIAN will be chasing this.
And we’ve said it once – and we’ll say it again – this whole planning process needs to be HALTED and Bristol City Council needs to start an immediate investigation into King Prawn and McNugget for potential breaches of THE BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION ACT.
Something doesn’t add up. There’s something rotten in Denmark.