Happy Thanksgiving to everyone helping to make positive changes in policing for the ASU community! ASU Police Lost Two of the Biggest “Turkeys” in 2014 due to your efforts.

ASU Police Thanksgiving! Lost two of our biggest turkeys and we're not missing them!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who contributed to positive change after 14 years of __________!

A very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who contributed to the pursuit of truth, demanded straight answers from public officials reluctant to give them, and who uncovered what a wayward government entity would rather hide despite the laws of transparency. The working employees of ASU Police and the public owe you a debt of gratitude.

Thank you, Anne Ryman, Rob O’Dell, Stuart Warner, Emilie Eaton, D.S. Woodfill, Jim Romenesko, and Sundevilsagainstsexualassault. Your efforts have sped up the process of change towards accountability in public safety at ASUPD. We also thank the employees of ASUPD who realized that change can only come from the outside and had the courage and intelligence to pursue it and contact the media, post on the Integrity Report, despite the bullies, internal threats, and paper tigers of intimidation. The year 2014 has been productive, but we are nowhere near where we need to be within the Arizona State University Police Department so the fight continues, the exposure will continue, and we will double our efforts. Stand by!

2014 News Articles to date:

1. ASU police staffing trails campus growth – AZCentral.com

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/09/21/asu-police-staffing-lags-campus-growth/15999573/

2. ASU, ASUPD under Federal Investigation

http://sundevilsagainstsexualassault.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/feds-asu-sex-assault-probe-ongoing/

3. ASU, community-college police got military surplus

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/09/17/asu-community-college-police-got-military-surplus/15812247/

4. ASU Police Officers Have 70 Semi-Automatic M-16s They Don’t Need

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2014/09/asu_police_officers_have_70_semi-automatic_m-16s_they_dont_need.php

5. ASU police plan to return surplus M-16 assault rifles

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/09/29/asu-police-plan-return-surplus-m-16-assault-rifles/16448959/

6. ASU police on heightened alert after violent sexual assault…

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/09/13/asu-sex-assault-heightened-alert/15604295/

7. ASU names new chief for embattled campus police force

 http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/tempe/2014/10/31/asu-interim-chief-head-campus-police-force/18263117/

8. Sexual assaults at ASU rarely result in expulsions

http://www.azcentral.com/longform/news/local/tempe/2014/11/23/asu-sexual-assault-few-arrests-convictions/19286329/

9. Embarrassment a bad reason for government to redact facts

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/investigations/2014/09/28/embarrassment-government-facts/16376477/

10. Arizona State University won’t let the Arizona Republic see sexual assault victims’ names

http://jimromenesko.com/2014/11/18/arizona-state-university-wont-let-arizona-republic-see-sexual-assault-victims-names/

11. ASU Flouts Arizona Law, Refusing to Turn Over the Names of 36 Sexual Assault Victims

http://collegeinsurrection.com/2014/11/asu-flouts-arizona-law-refusing-to-turn-over-the-names-of-36-sexual-assault-victims/

12. Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault (Not an article, but plenty of good information about the problem of sexual assault at ASU)

http://sundevilsagainstsexualassault.wordpress.com/

13. Coming soon…

ASU Police still struggles with internal legitimacy, The “Legitimacy Training” ignores it.

??????????The “Legitimacy Training” goes on and on…

The employees of the Arizona State University Police Department have been given two mandatory training sessions totaling 8 hours on the issue of legitimacy, calling it “Legitimacy Training”. In particular, this means the legitimacy of the ASU Police Department in the eyes of the public. Again the legitimacy of the police department to its own employees is ignored for this solution to a problem that doesn’t exist here. The presenters of the training stated repeatedly that no one incident brought about the training, but neglected to specify which incidents did. This is the lying by omission we have come to expect from PD leadership who treat transparency within the agency like its Ebola. If you are running the ASUPD with integrity, then transparency within the agency to build legitimacy among the troops is a no-brainer.

What prompted our “Legitimacy Training”?

Employees understand this so-called “training” to be the result of the Officer Stuart Ferrin and Professor Ursula Ore contact because quite frankly, what else is there in the eyes of the public? Never mind that the Arizona State University cleared Officer Ferrin, the county attorney cleared Officer Ferrin, the courts of Arizona cleared Officer Ferrin, and now the FBI cleared him with the university still failing to act accordingly on the findings. Why wasn’t he at the “Legitimacy training” with the rest of his brothers instead of being forced to stay home? The university is searching for information to support its New American thesis on this issue and still can’t find it.

Unaddressed internal issues decrease ASUPD legitimacy.

The public isn’t aware of other issues with contacts that were alarming to the majority of seasoned officers at ASUPD. Are they aware of the white suspect being assaulted, tased in handcuffs by a black officer who has a preoccupation with race? Probably not. Where is the outrage over that? Where’s the questioning about the use of force, the internal affair investigation, the admin leave? There won’t be any. The people who promote themselves and their agenda by trading in race issues suffered by the generations who came before them have nothing to gain from this story. By turning the cheek on this issue they become part of the problem of racism and why it persists.

Unrelated distractions decrease internal ASUPD legitimacy.

When a police department listens to a college professor exclaim, “…350 years of oppression and 100 years of Jim Crow!” is that supposed to apply to us? It does not. We would have been more impressed with quotations from people who united us than people who pulled us apart. Whether you are African American with this heritage, Jewish with a heritage of 1000 years of oppression, genocide, or have American Indian heritage with hundreds of years of genocide it still does not apply to what we are talking about here today. While all of these things are horrible things, none of it still has anything to do with the ASU police department or what took place on the Officer Ferrin/Assistant Professor Ore contact. Attempting to draw a tie to them when there isn’t one is not only insulting to those who suffered through those eras, but it keeps hate alive.

The university’s emphasis on publicity instead of solutions decreases internal and external ASUPD legitimacy.

The heads of the Arizona State University don’t take any interest in the ASU Police Department unless the department makes the news in a negative manner. Even when the department makes the news the university is interested in a public relations and spin instead of making a lasting change in how it conducts business and holding PD management responsible. The university and its PD management can curse “the blog” all it wants, it can reach out to its corrupt counterparts in AZDPS for a last chance fascist stab at its critics who utilized their 1st amendment rights, but at the end of the day we will be fully engaged on a continual basis because we are not writing the narrative here. The mismanagement of the ASUPD is done with the tacit approval of the ASU university administration who ultimately provide the content and write the narrative. The commanders failed the last chief and they will fail this one. This will go on and on, so you might need more Julie Newbergs unless you intend to fix the problem and stop insulting the personnel who swore to protect you and protect the public whose needs you ignore.

Distractions from the issues and generic solutions decrease internal ASUPD legitimacy.

The first session of the legitimacy training was a tepid coverage of the fundamental rule; treat others the way you would like to be treated. While the ASUPD is a relatively small department it has a diverse group of people who do the policing, not diverse in issues of race, but diverse in their experience and manners of policing. To understand how the ASUPD handles perceived problems it usually ignores them, picks on individuals with no personal connection to ASUPD command, or issues generic blanket statements of intent to the department as a whole where they hit the windows trash bin at the speed of sound.

This latest “training” is one of those generic blanket statements of intent to pacify people who only are making the issue about race and don’t understand it to be a greater problem within ASUPD. The statement in this case is two-fold. The first part is, “You police officers need to treat the public the way you would expect to be treated.” This statement is empty and useless for the majority of our staff because they already do that. We are insulted by the lukewarm attempt to address an issue that doesn’t pertain to us and pertains to a few who are never and will never be disciplined for it. The Pickens protection racket clique still remains intact holding the department back. Either Chief Thompson doesn’t have the will to contend with it or the University administration is micro-managing the department. In either case we will be inspired to seek redress outside the university until the issues are resolved.

What’s the real reason for the ASUPD going to “Legitimacy Training”?

The university management (Morgan Olsen, Kevin Salcido) failed to supervise the university police department management (The command of John L Pickens), who then in turn failed to supervise the police department middle management (Night Sergeants, in this specific case Sergeant Mark Aston), who then failed to supervise officers in the field who made needlessly aggressive contacts common practice. Doing what you think a “cop” is supposed to do isn’t the same as being a cop. Hollywood gets it wrong more than it gets it right and the university policing environment might as well be Hollywood to a city beat cop dealing with serious criminals. We have the luxury of dealing with junky bike thieves or a woman j-walking across a street and refusing to identify herself because she distrusts law enforcement. We are in the media spotlight not because one officer went too far, but because a top heavy with management police department failed to do the one thing it has more than enough staffing for; management.

Establish leadership legitimacy or repeat the “egg on the face” process over and over again.

Michael Crow, Morgan Olsen, Kevin Salcido, this is why more outside non-university police department leadership is essential; they know the reality from the fantasy. Now that we have a chief originally from a city agency running the department, so empower them to do so. Allow the chief to do what he sees necessary to fix this department and if he fails hold him accountable like anyone else. If he fails with no power to make decisions and succeed then who do we have to blame except university leadership? You are not going to get results without establishing internal legitimacy within ASUPD first.

Who knows more about the day to day operations of a police department? People with 20+ years in the business or people who never did the job?  We need people who know the dynamics of the department, who can identify the specific problems of ASUPD and develop solutions for them. The “clique” within ASUPD needs to be out of business ASAP because it has been bad for business. It has been good to its members who received promotion after promotion, self-awarded accolades, special training, out of state paid for trips to do it, much higher than average evaluations done by their friends, and any specialty position they apply for. Don’t put a new chief in the same category as Pickens who turned this place into a country club and referred to us all as “worker bees” while lying to us and you about department issues, and doing nothing effective about them.

Experienced police leadership knows this is a training issue that should have been addressed for a number of officers, not just Ferrin. They know this is a training issue for their corporals, sergeants, who were all standing by watching these events with indifference for years until one of them stopped someone with a voice who could find people to listen.

Experienced police leadership knows this is more than a training issue for the commanders who approved of these trends for years without seeing this problem or many others that could have led to litigation many times over if pursued by the public. The university administration has itself to blame for the public relation fires it’s currently scrambling to put out because it neglected its human resources within ASUPD, it turned its back on its protectors, and we aren’t going to take it. This is over when the problems get fixed; consider this a vote of no confidence in command. If we see changes we can believe in then we will believe, we’ll blog about it. After fourteen years of collective disappointment that’s the way it has to be.

 

ASU continues its “reign of incompetence” by promoting Mike Thompson to Police Chief

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From azcentral.com:

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.

ASU desperately wants people to view the PD as “legitimate”

Legitimacy training

It’s no secret that the Arizona State University Police Department has been pummeled by the media as of late.

Media outlets, such as The Arizona Republic, have publicly dissected several problems which have plagued ASUPD for years–staffing, and morale, to name a few. In turn, this has raised many questions about ASUPD’s legitimacy as a fully functioning police department in the eyes of both university employees and the public .

In a typical university knee-jerk reaction, ASU created mandatory training for all PD employees to address these issues of “legitimacy”. This “‘training” was comprised of two 4 hour sessions for the whole department, and was done by university employees with no PD affiliation or experience.

The presenters discussed generalized issues such as being nice to the public, community policing, and the unique environment of university policing. The presenters, however, failed to explain why ASUPD has lost legitimacy with its own employees/staff/public, and also how to fix the problems at hand. Many employees sensed this obvious gap in logic and voiced their concerns to the staff conducting the training, only to be met with blank stares. Evidently, the university did not anticipate any type of backlash.

What the university fails to fully understand is that the legitimacy issue is NOT caused by ground-level employees; it stems from a lack of quality people in leadership positions within the department. If you fail to employ a command structure that has accountability, ethics, and common sense, you have nothing more than a state funded gang using and abusing employees on a whim. Normal people cannot stomach working in this type of dysfunctional environment for an extended period of time, so the employee turnover rate and new employee hiring rate continue to skyrocket in tandem.

Poor leadership is obviously one contributor to ASUPD’s legitimacy problem, but not the main cause. What are other recent factors/events that have eroded ASUPD’s legitimacy as a fully functioning police department?

  • Free Speech:
    • For years, there has been a lot of preferential treatment and problem employees within ASUPD that Command Staff simply refused to address or deal with. Several employees became frustrated at the lack of outlet they had to voice their concerns, so they created a blog for anonymous online discussion called The Integrity Report. This discussion involved the posting of emails, memorandums, and policy manuals (which are all accessible to the public via a Freedom of Information Act request, or FOIA). Airing ASU’s dirty laundry caused administrators for the department and university to panic and attempt to shut down the indeed.com postings as well as The Integrity Report, citing “safety and security issues”. (It is quite ironic that in its quest to shut down and discredit The Integrity Report, ASU has actually further damaged its legitimacy as a law enforcement/academic institution, instead of preserving it.)
  • Having a convenient scapegoat:
    • When the public was enraged at the situation involving Assistant Professor Ursula Ore and Officer Stuart Ferrin, ASU needed a someone to blame so it could distance itself from the problem and maintain its legitimacy. Both Chief Pickens and Officer Ferrin took the brunt of the public lashing, with Chief Pickens resigning shortly after the Ore debacle.
  • Media exposure:
    • It is impossible for a department to maintain its validity when the media starts investigating and contradicting all of the department’s logic with hard facts and documentation (see the September 21st, 2014 edition of The Arizona Republic for an example). Even worse, the university attempted to redact information released to The Arizona Republic under the guise of “embarrassment”. The extensive media coverage of ASUPD’s repeated missteps has caused nearly irreparable damage to the department’s credibility as a law enforcement agency.
  • Repeatedly failing to acknowledge and address problems:
    • ASUPD still refuses to acknowledge any wronging on its behalf throughout the past year and a half of its public exposure. This would include admitting to staffing problems, cliques, and refusing to deal with problem employees, among other things. Admitting fault does not make the department look weak; it shows the department had enough insight to fix the issue and move forward. On the other hand, failing to acknowledge the 1000-pound elephant in the room does not make the department appear “composed”, it makes the department look like jackasses. Furthermore, when the department fails to acknowledge and address ANY problems, it makes the department appear out of touch and calls into question the legitimacy of its actions.

The “legitimacy” training did not even come close to discussing the above mention issues as possible reasons why the public does not view ASUPD as a “legitimate” law enforcement agency. The training was given by people working in civilian positions with no police department experience in any capacity, and who offered no actual plan on how to create legitimacy for the ASU Police Department. They should  have titled the training, “Please believe in the future! The university is in explosive growth, and we don’t know what we are doing!”

ASU, since you are unable or unwilling to fix ASUPD’s  problems internally, we will do it for you with continued exposure and public pressure. It won’t be pretty.

As always, stand by folks.

 

Editorial: What do we stand for? Integrity, accountability, and competency at ASUPD.

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Fresh off the heels of the Arizona Republic‘s investigation into ASUPD’s staffing levels, it was apparent that Chief Thompson was fretting over the negative media exposure. Thompson sent out several long winded and bizarrely worded emails to the entire department…at 2330 hours….on a Sunday evening:

Acting Chief Clown Thompson email

Here’s our response to Chief Thompson’s email:

Your highly emotional and generic email response to the solid facts presented by the Arizona Republic article is proof that you are not a leader; you more than likely wrote this to appease your bosses who are probably starting to figure out you’re not the man for the job. The troops know you’re just another reactionary Pickens-styled politician who is scared and doesn’t know what to do.

The lengthy analogy of washing your hands in comparison to the ASU Police department works…but not in a positive way for you. We’ve been standing under the scalding water for years getting burned, waiting for a competent leader to turn the department around. New officers can sense it too; most want to get in and leave the agency before they get burned. It doesn’t take them long to figure this out. (Look at the record of employee turnover, it proves this theory, yet it is one more fact you don’t want to acknowledge)

New officers have heard and seen many so examples of officers who have been burned by the department’s management for any number of reasons, with the main reason as not being a member of “the clique”. No matter how bad you screw up, no matter how bad you treat others, you have someone to support you. Yet, you refuse to address the clique’s existence or their inability to be held accountable for anything, instead throwing out a broad statement about how we need to treat everyone with “dignity and respect”. Most all of us treat each other with respect, but there are a handful of people who can’t seem to understand that concept, which in turn destroys the morale of the department.

If you weren’t addressing the department clique with your warm and fuzzy  statements, then this is your attempt to explain away what has taken place under both your and Pickens’ watch.  Your words are meaningless to us all without any sort of follow up action.

The current command staff pride themselves on a negative management style of inbred cronyism. This cronyism may work at a backwoods sheriff department in a town with a population of 10, but it doesn’t work in a large, ever-expanding city like Tempe. Values such as integrity, accountability, and competency in management are required in a department like ASUPD in order for officers to stay engaged here. How many of the dozens of officers hired under Pickens still remain at ASUPD? Maybe a handful?

Thompson, you are getting paid a lot of money to sit at a desk, have meetings, and do a lot of excuse making for the state of affairs at ASUPD. We had 14 years of that. For years we have been waiting for someone that gets results. For years we have been waiting for staffing,  adequate training, and more equipment; but more importantly, our leadership deficit has been the most critical issue of this department.

Thompson, you ended the email with, “each of us serve a noble purpose and I ask you to never forget that and always remain worthy of wearing the uniform or serving within the police department.” As our leader, we the troops are waiting for you to serve a noble purpose, and to remain worthy of wearing the uniform or serving within the police department.

So far we haven’t seen it.

ASU gets called out for redacting “embarrassing” information from its FOIA requests

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Yet another publicized misstep for Arizona State University’s administrators! This article is in direct response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by The Arizona Republic which pertain to the low staffing numbers at ASUPD.

From azcentral.com:

When I was a kid back in a more innocent time, the pre-Beatles 1960s, my friends and I occasionally hung out in the magazine section of the local drugstore and flipped through publications that our parents didn’t want us to see.

But it seemed that every time we got to the good stuff, a black bar blocked our view of an offending part. Magazines are less discreet these days, but those black bars still get plenty of use by your government officials. The federal Freedom of Information Act and the Arizona Public Records Law are among statutes that require governments to make their documents available to the people who pay for their bills.

That doesn’t mean they must let you read everything. In certain situations, they are allowed, and sometimes required by law, to redact information in those documents.

That’s when the little black bars get a workout. There are even computer programs like Adobe Acrobat Professional that make it easy to cover up the sensitive parts with solid inkjet lines. But sometimes we in the media believe the government goes too far in obstructing our view of information that is rightfully yours.

On June 2, we requested a copy of any and all minutes of recent meetings of the advisory board to the chief of the campus police at Arizona State University, citing the Arizona Public Records Law.

Reporters Anne Ryman and Rob O’Dell were working on a story, published last Sunday, about the staffing shortages at the university’s Police Department, which was a topic taken up by the advisory board.

The university complied, but with six pages missing from the minutes of the Oct. 17, 2013, meeting. Ryman, as is her right, appealed and asked for the full document. This time, the university provided all the pages, which included comments from officers about the morale problems in the department.

Among their gripes: “… no unity exists in the department.” “The Department is short-staffed by 50-80 officers.”

Still, not everything was there. Eight lines were redacted under the heading Officer Safety Issues. These were concerns expressed by the university’s police officers. We thought the public had a right to know what they were.

The Public Records Law requires that the government state its reason for blacking out information. ASU information officer Julie New­berg said the section was “redacted according to the Best Interest of the State.”

The law does say that “a public officer or public body may refuse to disclose documents that contain information protected by a common law privilege where release of the documents would be harmful to the best interests of the State.”

Our only course of action at that point would have been to take the university to court to obtain the unredacted document.

Except …

Two sources with legitimate access to the full text of the minutes provided us with copies.

So, what was the university hiding?

They didn’t want you to know that the university’s main campus was sometimes staffed by only two officers on a shift. (The department’s own policy requires four.) They also didn’t want you to know that their officers are sometimes unfamiliar with the areas they police during “party patrols” and that they have difficulty communicating with Tempe police officers because they use different equipment.

Harmful information? I don’t think so; the specific understaffed shifts weren’t revealed. More likely, school officials were embarrassed by the short staffing and lack of training.

And under the law, “the cloak of confidentiality may not be used … to save an officer or public body from inconvenience or embarrassment.”

As I recall it, some of those folks in the magazines way back when would have looked better covered by some kind of cloak as well.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Stuart Warner is a senior content manager and Pulitzer Prize-winning editor. He supervises coverage of the border, immigration, higher education, the environment, Maricopa County government and justice enterprise.

The writer, Stuart Warner, hit the nail on the head.

ASU has used this “cloak of confidentiality” for years to conceal the totalitarian leadership which exists both at ASUPD, and also the university at large. Beyond the censoring of public documents, ASUPD has gone even further to prevent exposure and potential embarrassment. ASUPD’s policy manual seeks to broadly sensor the 1st Amendment rights of its employees outside of work by stating, “when reasonable suspicion exists that the police department is being discredited by an employee through electronic media, the employee may be required to allow access to personal accounts or hardware/equipment for inspection.” (PSM-26-102). Therefore, if an employee (even anonymously) brings forth documentation that the department has discredited itself, he/she is the one who falls under scrutiny, NOT the department or the university.

It is becoming more apparent to the public that the ideology found in Michael Crow’s “New American University” has more in common with communism than it does with the democratic principles found in the United States Constitution.

 

 

 

 

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!).