The Arizona Republic investigates ASUPD’s staffing issues

Front page reality for Michael Crow

Anne Ryman and Rob O’Dell, investigative reporters from the Arizona Republic, have been digging into our assertions that Arizona State University’s Police Department is understaffed, due in part to low departmental morale (which negatively effects employee retention).

From azcentral.com:

Arizona State University’s Police 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, The Arizona Republic found.

Six out of seven days during the semester, at least one shift did not have all seven officers scheduled, as ASU police requires to patrol Tempe and three other satellite campuses.

As a result, supervisors had to either pay overtime, reassign someone from another job or leave positions on a shift vacant. The department can’t say how often it left a post empty on any given patrol shift.

MORE: ASU police acquire M-16 assault rifles

Public records, the police chief’s advisory-board documents and interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees paint a picture of an agency that is understaffed for patrol shifts.

It’s not clear whether the staffing shortage affects crime rates. But records and interviews show the department sometimes needs to pull officers from performing other duties, such as criminal investigations and proactive police work like crime prevention, to work patrol shifts.

Former officers have expressed concern about their safety and the safety of students in a report to the police chief and questioned whether the department had the staffing and training to properly respond to a shooter on campus.

That report has a section on morale, where past employees who were interviewed contend the department is “short staffed by 50-80 officers. This is a stressor for the officers that still work there.”

Campus police staffing levels have not kept up with ASU’s enrollment. ASU’s ratio of sworn officers to students is about25 percent below the national average for large, public schools, a national report found.

ASU officials acknowledge there have been staffing challenges but have been hiring to bolster department resources. The police budget was increased for the budget year that began July 1 with a half-dozen new officers hired since then. ASU police officials recently signaled how important it is to have a more visible police presence when they announced they were beefing up patrols following a sexual assault on campus Sept. 9.

Morgan Olsen, ASU’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the university places a priority on having safe and secure campuses, and to his knowledge, public safety hasn’t suffered with the staffing.

Some police agencies reduced staffing during the recession, but ASU didn’t eliminate police officers or aides, he said, even as the university’s state funding was cut 40 percent and ASU eliminated 2,055 jobs in other areas.

“Generally, we’ve been able to maintain coverage and maintain responsiveness,” Olsen said.

ASU President Michael Crow, who has often touted the safety of the campuses, said through a spokesman that Olsen was the appropriate ASU official to speak about police staffing.

In June, Police Chief John Pickens, who had led the department for 14 years, announced that he was transferring to a newly created job in charge of university security initiatives.

An ASU student-safety task force is recommending the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state universities, conduct an independent review of the safety needs at all three state universities. The task force was formed in response to a series of articles in The Republic last September about alcohol-related crimes.

The regents will hear safety recommendations at a meeting this week in Flagstaff.

But one former employee is clear what he believes the university should do: increase staffing.

Retired ASU Sgt. Marvin Tahmahkera compared the daily scheduling of patrol officers to a popular video game in which a player must manipulate random blocks into position before the pieces fall to the bottom.

“Every day it seemed like a game of Tetris. Someone would call in sick,” said Tahmahkera, who retired last year after 22 years with the department.

He recalls responding to a domestic-violence call by himself at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, a situation where law-enforcement best practices say having a backup officer is a necessary precaution. The staffing levels sometimes made it difficult to patrol dorms, look for underage drinkers and rattle doors at night to make sure they were locked.

“Many times I was the officer in charge, and I was just praying nothing would happen that night,” he said.

Short staffing

ASU is the largest public university in the country with 82,000 students, including 13,000 online-only students. The Tempe campus alone covers more than 700 acres with 57,800 students.

A typical patrol shift has seven sworn officers, including a sergeant, to watch over ASU’s four Valley campuses: Tempe, West, Polytechnic and downtown Phoenix.

But on six of every seven days in the spring semester, ASU was unable to schedule the full seven staff officers for at least one of the three daily patrol shifts. The shortage could have been caused by a variety of factors, including officers out sick, on vacation, injured, on family-medical leave or at court.

On more than half of the 151 days examined by The Republic, at least two of the three daily patrol shifts were scheduled to be short staffed. All three shifts were consistently scheduled to be short of staff, The Republic found, with the swing shift beginning in late afternoon the most underscheduled.

ASU police and administrators contend that not every shift had vacancies because they used overtime pay or pulled someone from another job to cover the open position. The university could not say which shifts they were able to cover, saying it would take them weeks to determine if officers actually worked those shifts.

Staffing levels sometimes dipped so low the Tempe campus would have only two officers on staff, according to a report given last year to the police chief based on interviews with police officers and aides.

The university can call surrounding city ­police agencies for backup when help is needed. But officers from another agency are sometimes unfamiliar with the campuses, so it takes them longer to arrive.

Olsen acknowledged that last fall, an unusually high number of people were on family-medical leave for injuries or as new parents, he said. Others had to work more overtime as a result.

“We’ve pretty well worked our way out of that now,” he said. “But we’re continuing to build because we would like to have a force that allows us to do just a little more now than we have been doing.”

The department had 74 full-time officers at the end of the fiscal year. Department officials say they’ve hired six since July and say they plan to hire nine more, which would bring the total to 89 sworn officers and supervisors.

Below U.S. averages

ASU has about 1.1 sworn officers for every 1,000 students, below the national ratio of 1.5 for large, public schools, and below the University of Arizona’s 1.6.

A 2005 survey by the U.S. Department of Justice found larger public schools with more than 15,000 students had 1.5 sworn officers per 1,000 students.

Filling all the budgeted slots would bring ASU up to 1.3.

ASU’s five-member investigative unit has one less person than UA’s, which has 40,000 fewer students and fewer violent crimes.

When 42 police aides are factored in, ASU officials said, the per-student ratio of police to students is higher. The aides help patrol, respond to emergency calls such as minor traffic accidents and take reports on minor thefts. The mostly full-time aides are not required to go through the police academy, they don’t make arrests and they don’t carry guns.

The department plans to hire 20 more police aides this year.

But David Perry, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, said it’s not appropriate to include police aides in the per-student ratios because aides cannot perform all the functions of a sworn officer.

Campus law-enforcement experts say there is no universally accepted method of determining staffing and no “magic” number of officers per student, though enrollment is a key factor. More students means more calls for service, Perry said.

Campus police in some other areas of the country also are grappling with determining the appropriate number of staff.

Last year, Capt. Eric Chin of the Purdue University Police Department surveyed schools in the Big Ten Conference. He found the highest ratio at the private Northwestern University at 2.9 per 1,000 students. Ohio State was the lowest with 0.85 officers per 1,000.

Olsen said ASU uses a more complex calculation than enrollment to determine staffing, including crime trends and the department’s ability to cover the campuses. He said he wouldn’t necessarily characterize the department as being understaffed.

“If you were to go out and ask a particular department in the university, maybe the biology department or the folks who maintain the grounds, ‘Are you understaffed? Could you do more with more people?’ Well, sure, we could do more good things with more people. So that’s not necessarily surprising,” he said.

‘Malls’ for thieves

Whether the staffing shortages affect crime rates is inconclusive.

Crime statistics reported to the federal government under the Clery Act show a mixed picture of ASU’s Tempe campus. The Republic compared ASU with its 15 peer universities along with University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University from 2008 to 2012, the latest data available.

Rates of forcible sexual offenses and robbery have risen at ASU’s Tempe campus, while burglary and aggravated assault rates have fallen or remained the same. ASU’s rates of sexual offenses are lower than most of its peer schools. It has a higher rate of robbery and a much higher rate of aggravated assaults when compared with its peers.

The Republic filed public-records requests July 29 with ASU for police response times and clearance rates for crimes, but the department has not provided the information.

Tahmahkera, the ASU retired sergeant, calls ASU a “big shopping mall for thieves” because of the open nature. A student gets up to get a drink of water and leaves his laptop on a table. He returns to find it gone, including his paper due for class.

The Tempe campus reported 963 thefts and another 98 burglaries, the category that includes bike thefts, in 2012, the most recent year annual statistics are reported to the federal government.

Violent crimes are rare. The Tempe campus reported 16 sexual offenses in 2012. Ten robberies and 10 aggravated assaults occurred on campus that same year.

A larger police force is something the university has planned for several years, ASU’s Olsen said. But like a lot of other things, it didn’t get funded during the recession.

The university would like to have more officers at the downtown Phoenix campus as well as multiple officers on the West and Polytechnic campuses, he said.

Staff discord

Blogs and public comments show conflict within the campus police department.

An anonymous blog called “The Integrity Report” published complaints about working conditions and a supposed clique that runs the department. Then, the video of an ASU officer arresting an African-American professor in May went viral. Civil-rights groups were outraged. An FBI investigation is ongoing into whether the professor’s rights were violated.

ASU declined to make a representative of the Police Department available to speak on the record for this story. But public records show discord within the department.

Last year, then-Chief Pickens reinstated a police chief advisory board to improve communication. At the October meeting, the board heard written concerns from current and former employees. ASU redacted some of the complaints from the minutes,but The Republic obtained complete copies from other sources. Among the deleted comments:

“Outlying campuses often only have one officer on shift at a time.”

“Tempe campus goes down to only two officers on staff often.”

The minutes offer recommendations such as boosting pay and significantly increasing staffing. ASU officials say many changes have already been made. ASU hired a police recruiter earlier this year and raised pay for experienced officers. Retention pay was added to encourage officers to stay. A new police chief is expected to be named soon.

Olsen said the university is trying to do everything possible to foster a good environment, where high-quality people want to work.

Former employees, such as Tahmahkera, hope ASU can turn things around. The key will be recruiting and keeping good employees. Given the right resources, he said, ASU “could be the best police department to work for.”

How ASU’s ratio of sworn officers stacks up to enrollment:

ASU: 1.1 per 1,000 students.

UA: 1.6 per 1,000 students.

U.S. Department of Justice survey: 2.1 per 1,000 students at public colleges and 1.5 per 1,000 for public schools with enrollments of more than 15,000.

Eric Chin, Purdue University Police Department survey in December 2013 of Big Ten Conference schools: Highest ratio was Northwestern University at 2.9 per 1,000. Lowest was Ohio State at .85 per 1,000.

ASU’s ratio excludes 13,000 students who only take classes online and don’t come to campuses.

How we reported the story

The Arizona Republic filed public requests for staffing schedules, police patrols, budgets, meeting minutes and other information related to police staffing from the Arizona State University Police Department, beginning in May. The newspaper compared ASU staffing figures with national studies and data provided by other universities.

One of the documents The Republic received was a breakdown of staffing for the spring semester 2014, which shows how many sworn officers were scheduled to work each of the three patrol shifts and the department-required staffing for that shift. The Republic analyzed the staffing on each of the three patrol shifts and determined that in six out of every seven days, ASU police had at least one shift with a scheduled staff shortage.

 

Just a few more points to add to Anne’s exceptionally well-researched and well-written article:

  • Morgan Olsen makes excuses for ASUPD’s problems: Dismissing the obivious staffing shortage by claiming that every department at ASUPD could use more staffing is ludicrous. Unlike the two departments Olsen cited–biology and grounds–their staffing levels do not have any impact on the crime rate or safety of the campus. A university CAN function with an understaffed or non-existent biology or grounds department; it can NOT function with an understaffed or non-existent police department.
  • Olsen said “the university is trying to do everything possible to foster a good environment, where high-quality people want to work”: That would mean that the university’s Human Resources department would work with employees who have expressed their concerns with the work environment at ASUPD. Instead, ASU’s HR, Kevin Salcido, has disregarded any employee concerns regarding ASUPD that have been brought to his attention. Salcido has repeatedly refused to intervene in the department’s issues.
  • ASU claims the university has a higher police to student ratio than the numbers the Arizona Republic reported…because ASU included its unarmed, civilian police aides. Police aides are an effective tool, but they are merely support the role of sworn officers; police aides can not make arrests, and they can’t respond to serious calls for service.
  • ASU refused to fully release public documents to the Arizona Republic that prove employees expressed their concerns about staffing to then-Chief Pickens:Meeting minutes, notes, emails are all considered public records that ASU is obligated to fully release upon request (save for a few specific exemptions). Because ASU refused to fully comply with a public records request, they are legally liable for damages that may result from wrongfully denying a person access to public records (A.R.S. § 39-121.02(C))
  • People are paying attention to the situation at ASUPD: Between this article, The Integrity Report, and the viral news article about the arrest of Professor Ore, the university’s problems have become increasingly exposed in a way that hasn’t previously happened. No amount of PR or minimization of the issues can hide ASUPD’s problems now. The only true solution to saving the department is to remove problem employees, and restructure the department from the top down.

Edited to add: We covered the situation with the Chief’s Advisory Board in December 2013. To read the full contents of the meeting minutes, click here.

 

ASU’s Tempe Campus was grossly understaffed the night a brutal sex assault occurred

On 09/09/14, a student was  attacked and sexually assaulted near Adelphi II Commons. This has been especially shocking to the ASU community and general public due to the brutal violence involved, and also because it is relatively uncommon to be sexually assaulted by a person unknown to the victim (The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network states that in approximately 2/3 of sexual assaults, the offender is someone known to the victim)

After a slew of sex assaults last fall, ASU gave the impression to the community it was proactively and aggressively dealing with the situation, by participating in a “Start by Believing” campaign last spring aimed at sex assault prevention.

In an editorial last spring entitled “‘Start by Believing’ ASUPD is part of the problem!” we questioned ASU’s true commitment to handling the sex assault problem on campus; we felt the department did not have the staffing nor the resources to adequately and proactively respond to and deter sexual assaults and other major crimes. Unfortunately, the vicious sexual assault on 09/09/14 supports this hypothesis.

On 09/09/14, Tempe campus had a mere 4 officers working on patrol, and two of those units were working OT for shift coverage. The total population of ASU is now 82,000, with the majority of students living on ASU’s Tempe campus. With 4 officers for roughly 82,000 students, that means there is 1 officer per every 20,500 students. Even Chicago, a city with some of the highest crime rates in the country, has a higher officer to citizen ratio: 44.2 officers for every 10,000 citizens.

On the night of this sexual assault, ASUPD had 7 officers dived amongst 4 campuses, which means there is 1 officer for 11,714 students (which doesn’t include the numbers of staff, faculty, and the general public who come to ASU on a regular basis). Simply put, the negligent management of public safety by ASU President Michael Crow is unacceptable.

How many more sexual assaults will happen before Michael Crow and ASU’s administration will give its officers the staffing and resources they desperately need to effectively do their jobs?

Arizona State University is a rape friendly campus

 It’s a good thing everyone showed up for overtime! The lack of coverage only encourages more criminal activity.

The lack of leadership only encourages more officers to leave the department as soon as possible.

ASUPD has more rifles than patrol units!

Commander Orr the range master

Another day, another public guffaw from ASUPD!

From abc15.com:

TEMPE, AZ – Arizona universities are taking advantage of the federal government’s 1033 program which gives away military equipment and weapons for free.

Arizona State University Police received 70 M-16 rifles from the program.

The firearms originally came from the Department of Public Safety, who were going to turn the weapons back in, according to ASU Sergeant Daniel Macias.

Arizona’s 1033 Director Matt Van Camp says the ASU has acquired more weapons than any other Arizona university.

The University of Arizona acquired bag or barracks under the federal program.

Sergeant Macias says the ASU officers aren’t carrying the rifles yet. In fact, officers will go through extensive training before taking the firearms out into the field.

Sergeant Macias says the rifles are an important tool in the day of active shooters.

The Pentagon loaned the weapons to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in the early 90s, through a free program called 1033.

In 2012, the Pentagon found out Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t account for nine firearms it borrowed from the program and was immediately suspended MCSO from the program.

Last week, Detective Van Camps says MCSO was terminated from the program and sent a letter requiring all of the equipment back within 120 days.

The 1033 program has come under intense scrutiny since the Ferguson, Missouri shooting.

When riots broke out in the streets, local officers responded in armored vehicles, automatic rifles and even some camouflage.

What this article fails to mention is that ASUPD acquired these rifles from DPS back in 2012! So for over two years now, these weapons have been used exclusively by the elite and always professional ASUPD firearms staff . (In the article, Sgt Macias states that “the [ASU] officers aren’t carrying the rifles yet”). There are currently more M-16s at ASUPD than there are officers on patrol to actually deploy them! Additionally, there are even fewer people at ASUPD (who are assigned to patrol) that are current with their rifle qualification.

According to Macias, “the rifles are an important tool in the day of active shooters”. This explains why ASUPD has kept these rifles hidden from patrol for two years; if there is a tool that is vitally important and necessary for the successful execution of well thought-out plan, it most likely doesn’t exist at ASUPD (because ASUPD operates in a universe void of any logical or rational thought). Or, alternatively, if the aforementioned magical tool does make its way into the ASU universe, it is most likely being used incorrectly by the most useless member of the department. (No, Allen…the M-16 is not used to scoot food off a nearby table because you don’t feel like getting up and walking!).

ASUPD won’t enforce newly implemented “keg ban”

In an effort to curtail excessive and “reckless” drinking at football games, ASU decided to ban kegs, beer pong, and drinking games from football tailgates. ASU spoke to several media outlets in a  carefully managed PR campaign designed to show the public how committed they are to curtailing underage drinking.

However, ASUPD has slowly backed away from their “keg ban” enforcement, undoubtedly a result of having an insufficient number of ASUPD officers to actually enforce the ban.

In a KTAR News article detailing the return of ASU Football, the author briefly mentions ASUPD’s sudden “about face” toward the end of the article:

Despite the ban, ASU Police said it would not be enforcing the new regulations. Instead, violators will be asked to return the offending items to their car or home. If they fail to comply, they will be asked to leave.

Essentially what ASUPD is telling the general public: we only care about your safety or enforcing our policies when the media is paying attention.

ASUPD’s cycle of dysfunctional supervision, and how it destroyed the department’s morale, retention, and ability to function

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A lot of the problems regarding morale have been very deeply entrenched into the culture at ASUPD. Personal issues that were once limited to a small clique of people quickly morphed into a pervasive, department-wide disease once the problem employees were promoted. The promoted person taught his/her twisted working “style” to their subordinates who viewed it as an acceptable way to treat other employees. Once those people were promoted, the entire cycle repeated itself.

Understanding this dynamic is crucial to solving the department’s problems because until the root causes are removed, no amount of superficial changes will be able to slow the mass exodus from ASUPD. Ignoring the reality of this dynamic by attempting to “retrain” problem employees will only slow–not stop–this cycle of dysfunctional behavior.

For example, in the memo below, problem people within ASUPD’s FTO program were identified as early as 2004, yet these individuals were both allowed to act without consequence and were also later promoted (The person in the memorandum is now currently a Commander).

Memo on hostile supervisors and trainers

The memorandum supports the “cycle of dysfunctional supervision” theory  because it highlights a few individuals engaging in unacceptable behavior, unchecked, who later passed on their working “style” to their subordinates once they became supervisors.

For  any long-lasting and substantial change to take foothold at ASUPD, both ASU’s administrators and HR must finally come to terms with the notion that problem people at the department must be removed–not retrained, assigned to alternate duty, or given another position in the university. However, given Kevin Salcido’s track recording of dealing (or rather, failing to deal with) problem employees, we forsee the endless cycle of dysfunction continuing to run ASUPD into the ground.

 

ASU Police supervisor solicited sex from undercover cop

asu police supervisor arrested for soliciting sex

Yet another scandal is rocking ASUPD, fresh on the heels of the Pickens/Hardina PR debacle; however this time, it involves a civilian employee.

According to abc15:

TEMPE, AZ – A former Arizona State University employee is under investigation after Mesa police say he tried to buy sex from an undercover police officer, sources tell ABC15.

Separately, Mesa police spokesman Esteban Flores told ABC15 that Lonny Foster was arrested on July 31.

According to ASU’s website, Foster was the Manager of Communications and Records for the ASU Police Department.

ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said Foster has been let go because of the investigation.

So much for keeping the department quiet for 90 days, Chief Thompson.

 

The truth behind ASUPD’s staffing numbers!

 

M Rourke have a staffing or morale problem.

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.

ASU Police Day Schedule

ASU Police Nights Schedule

 

The ASUPD Ore snafu is far from over at ASU!

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From the New Times Blog:

Ersula Ore, the assistant professor at Arizona State University whose violent arrest became national news because of a viral video, was sentenced today to nine months’ supervised probation.

Ore pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of passively resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. She’d been charged originally by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office with three misdemeanor counts and one felony count of aggravated assault on a police officer related to the May 20 arrest.

On that evening, Ore had been walking on College Avenue near Fifth Street when Stewart Ferrin, a rookie ASU police officer, admonished her for walking in the street. She perceived his attitude as rude, and gave him some guff. For her troubles, she soon found herself being thrown to the ground and handcuffed as Ferrin arrested her. She can be seen on the video resisting Ferrin’s efforts to handcuff her, and launching a small kick to Ferrin’s legs. The video makes Ferrin look bad, too, as we’ve pointed out previously, due to his overreaction on a mere jaywalking stop, and inability — “I’m going to slam you on this car” — to handle Ore in gentlemanly fashion.

Video of the arrest by ASU police officer Stewart Ferrin was shared broadly on the Internet after Channel 3 News (KTVK-TV) first aired it in late June, inciting many viewers who believed Ore had suffered police brutality. Under public pressure, ASU officials — who had previously found that Ferrin acted appropriately — put Ferrin on administrative leave and asked the FBI to investigate the case for potential civil-rights violations.

Two weeks of bad publicity received by ASU was followed by the unexpected departures of ASU Police Chief John Pickens and Assistant Chief James Hardina. ASU claimed, unbelievably, that the departures had nothing to do with Ore.

As of Thursday, Ferrin was still on leave, ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler told New Times.

Also on Thursday, a website called “Down and Drought” published an article by an anonymous author that highlights the apparent responses of police officers to the Ore case. “Agualarchy,” (who could be John Huppenthal for all we know), also criticizes New Times for predicting that Ore won’t make good on her threat to “sue the (bleep) out of the officer,” and for failing to mention old, debunked allegations against Ferrin’s father, John Ferrin in our previous articles about Ore.

With Ferrin on leave, the departures of ASU’s top brass unexplained, and the FBI investigation unfinished, you can expect to hear some more in the near future on this widely publicized case.

The Phoenix New Times writer, Ray Stern, hit the nail right on the head when it comes to the Ore snafu; after initially standing behind Officer Ferrin following the arrest of Professor Ore, ASU later threw Ferrin under the bus due to mounting public pressure. The university’s  attempts to explain the ousting both Chief Pickens and Assistant Chief Hardina as unrelated to Ore’s arrest were both comical and unbelievable; apparently, ASUPD had gotten so accustomed to presenting half-truths to members of the department (where any dissenting opinion is quashed immediately), they wrongly assumed the general public would fall for the same line.

While Ore’s criminal case is finished, the entire saga at ASU is far from over; the disposition of Officer Ferrin’s career has yet to be determined. Ferrin was reportedly asked to resign his position as a peace officer so that ASUPD could forgo the formality of doing an actual “investigation” (smartly, Ferrin told ASUPD to pound sand). Both the FBI and DPS’ investigations into wrong-doing on the part of Officer Ferrin are ongoing, with no end in sight.

ASUPD remains shell-shocked following the purge of Pickens and Hardina, and continues to fall apart (albeit more slowly) as another school year begins. ASU’s administration is now micromanaging the departmen to prevent the university from experiencing another PR meltdown–essentially making Interim Chief Thompson a powerless talking head.

With this whole debacle fresh in the public’s mind, you can be certain that any further scandals coming out about ASUPD will surely mean the end of the Michael Crow-era at ASU (we heard McDonald’s is always hiring, sir).

Where did we go? We are gearing up for the next round.

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We’ve received a few emails asking why there have been a lack of posts fairly recently. We have not been “muzzled” or won-over by the promises of “change” by ASUPD’s new leadership. The fact of the matter is that everyone who was in Command Staff during the era of Pickens is equally to blame for the department’s problems. Continuously using Pickens as a scapegoat after his departure is cheap; the fact of the matter is, you all were there working under Pickens and you failed to even attempt to do “the right thing”. Why should any department member trust ANY of the previous members of Command Staff that the circumstances have changed?

We want to present more hard factual information about the situation at ASU beyond citing media stories, and unfortunately that takes time.

We’ve been fighting with ASU behind the scenes to receive several FOIA requests we put in months ago. Apparently, we’re not alone in this battle either; our media contacts have also experienced the same stonewalling from ASU. There is information which exists that is obviously damaging , so much so that the university is willing to risk legal action if they don’t comply with the FOIA requests.

The problems at ASUPD didn’t happen overnight, nor were the changes started by The Integrity Report. Anything that is worth having takes time and patience.

As always….stand by, folks.

 

Under increasing public and media scrutiny, ASU starts waffling in the case of Officer Ferrin

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As Assistant Professor Ore’s case continues to make its way from the headlines to the courtroom, ASU Police Officer Stuart Ferrin’s actions are under further scrutiny by an FBI and another ASU investigation! ASU has stepped away from its original investigation which cleared Officer Ferrin of any wrongdoing in the arrest of Ursula Ore, and instead decided to submit to the media/public pressure calling for Ferrin’s termination.

On June 28, 2014, ASU officials originally released a statement to 3TV and other news outlets that said,

“ASU authorities have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the arrest and have found no evidence of inappropriate actions by the ASUPD officers involved. Should such evidence be discovered, an additional, thorough inquiry will be conducted and appropriate actions taken. “Because the underlying criminal charges are pending, there is not much more we can say at this time. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has reviewed all available evidence, including the police report, witness statements, and audio and video recordings of the incident, and decided to press criminal charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, refusing to provide identification when requested to do so by an officer, and obstructing a highway or public thoroughfare.”

In response to the increasing media coverage and controversy over of the incident, ASUPD released a secondary statement to the Huffington Post one day after the original statement:

“The ASU Police Department is enlisting an outside law-enforcement agency to conduct an independent review on whether excessive force was used and if there was any racial motivation by the officers involved.

In addition, although no university protocols were violated, university police are conducting a review of whether the officer involved could have avoided the confrontation that ensued.

According to the police report, ASU Police initially spoke to Assistant Professor Ore because officers patrolling the area nearly hit her with their police vehicle as they turned the vehicle onto College Avenue to investigate a disabled vehicle.  Officer Stewart Ferrin had no intention of citing or arresting Ore, but for her safety, told her to walk on the sidewalk.  When Ore refused to comply and refused to provide identification after she was asked for it multiple times, she was subsequently arrested.”

Only AFTER ASU received a slew of negative media coverage (and AFTER ASUPD cleared Officer Ferrin) did the university place him on administrative leave, and subsequently initiate a SECOND investigation (based on no violations of law or policy).

 Following the carefully camouflaged terminations of Chief John Pickens and Assistant Chief James Hardina, Assistant Chief Michael Thompson assumed command as interim Chief of ASU Police. He issued a customary introduction letter via email and stated, “As you know there is an ongoing investigation into the contact between Officer Ferrin and Professor Ore. Therefore, I cannot go into detail about the incident beyond the following: No decision has been made within our department, or Arizona State University executive administration, with respect to the outcome of that incident. Once the investigation(s) are concluded, I expect those documents will be forwarded adjudicated based on all of the available facts.”

ASUPD interim positions during meltdown

How can Thompson state that no decision has been made within the department? What about the decision that was already made which cleared Officer Ferrin of any wrongdoing? Where is Officer Ferrin’s voice in this entire discussion?

Professor Ore has been allowed to publicly defend herself and speak freely to the media, but Officer Ferrin–under order from the university– hasn’t been able to speak and defend his actions. This scenario perfectly illustrates the notion that ASU has very different rules for its employees depending on where they fall in the administrative food chain.

Retired Mesa police officer Bill Richardson decided to be Officer Ferrin’s “voice” in a recent article published in the East Valley Tribune. We wanted to repost this article in its entirety because it sheds light on a very one-sided media issue.

Reposted here in its entirety:

Who is Arizona State University Police Officer Stewart Ferrin, the officer who has been accused of abusing ASU Professor Ersula Ore?

On May 20, 2014, Officer Ferrin arrested ASU Professor Ore on multiple charges, including felony assault on a police officer, following her being stopped for walking down the middle of the road. Ore initially pled innocence and self-defense to the public and national media, but has now pled guilty to resisting arrest and faces up to six-months in the Maricopa County Jail’s “Tent City.”

ASU Police reportedly investigated Ferrin’s conduct following the arrest and no misconduct was found. Even with Ore’s guilty plea and ASU officials clearing Ferrin of any misconduct, as soon as Ore’s publicity machine took her plea of being abused nationwide, Ferrin became the target of another investigation and a request by university officials to have the FBI investigate Ferrin for civil rights violations.

In an email to ASU faculty, University Provost Rob Page praised Ore and pointed a veiled finger in Ferrin’s direction. For a man who is a trained scientist and “charged with the stewardship of Arizona State University,” you’d have thought his bias would’ve been kept in check and he’d have at least waited for the results of the FBI investigation before taking sides.

Talk about getting thrown under the bus.

ASU has yet to publicly announce if it is even going to investigate Ore’s criminal conduct and her reported alleged obscenity laced threats against the officer. I won’t hold my breath waiting.

The portrayal of Ore as the victim and Ferrin as a thug has been well orchestrated. No one has talked about Ferrin as a person.

The following information was obtained from those who know and work with him. Ferrin has been ordered to sit at home and been “gagged” by university officials from speaking for himself.

Ferrin grew up wanting to be a cop like his dad. At 12 he had his own lawn mowing business. He spent 10 years as a Boy Scout and earned the Eagle Scout Award. His Eagle Scout project was organizing and gathering together 50 volunteers to attack Tempe’s serious graffiti problem in a gang-ridden neighborhood. During his ten-years in the Scouts he also served four-years with the Mesa Police Explorers where he was presented with the Prudential Spirit of Service Award for his dedication and volunteerism.

In high school he worked at a local bank in an internship program. After high school he used his own savings to pay part of the costs for his Church of Latter-day Saints mission. He served two-years in Chile where he not only held a leadership position among his fellow missionaries, he was called upon to work with the U. S. Air Force as a translator in the massive 8.8 earthquake relief efforts in 2010.

Following his mission he worked full-time and volunteered at the Tempe Police Department where he was again recognized for his service and presented the Presidential Service Award.

He was hired by ASU Police in 2011 to work in communications. Six-months later after passing a series of examinations including a psychological evaluation, polygraph test and background investigation he was selected to attend the police academy. He attended the same five-month police academy officers from throughout the valley attend, including Tempe officers. He then completed an equally long field-training program before being assigned to patrol duties. Because of his Spanish speaking and cultural skills his fellow ASU officers and Tempe police called upon him often to assist in translations and investigations.

Since joining the ASU PD his volunteerism has continued with the W. Steven Martin Toy Drive at Christmas and the annual Scottsdale Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop” program. He has a wife, a child and a baby on the way.

Years of caring and service aren’t the character traits of a badge heavy police officer that abuses someone during an arrest.

The portrayal of Ferrin as a thug and out of control rogue cop is far cry from who he really is and his lengthy record of service and compassion as a Boy Scout, LDS Missionary, Tempe police volunteer, dedicated ASU police officer, husband and father.

I’d rather have Officer Ferrin responding to help my child who attends ASU than having her in a class with professor Ore.

 

Professor Ore has been afforded the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, so why is ASU still waffling over whether or not Officer Ferrin is also afforded that right? Are our rights as police officers and also private citizens also subject to the aforementioned waffling?