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

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

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

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

University of Arizona Police Dept. Staffing

40,000 students (72 sworn) 1 campus

Chief                                                     1

Commanders                                     3

 Lieutenants                                       3

Sergeants                                            12

Detectives                                          5

Officers                                                                48 (all on a patrol function)

Police Aides                                       20

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

Arizona State University Police Dept. Staffing

76,000 students (66 sworn) 4 campuses

Chief                                                     1

Asst. Chiefs                                        2

Commanders                                     5

Sergeants                                            17

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

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

Police Aides                                       36

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

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


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4 thoughts on “How ASUPD’s organizational structure is setting itself up for failure.

  1. Oneman1riot says:

    This is a good no bones observation of mismanagement at it’s best. Our university is half the size of U of A, but our police department can’t field officers to patrol it’s four campuses?

    Either the chief is screwing up bad because he is misalocating funds and not aware of what people under him have been doing to the department for years, ASU administration at the Fulton Center doesn’t believe it needs a functional police department, or both.

    I think there might be some credibility to the argument that this is a giant game to keep Clery stats artificially low.
    Why don’t we promote everyone to supervisor? The distinction we hand out like free candy is earned elsewhere. Let’s go from a supervisor ratio of 1 to 1 to 2 to 1 and see how that motivates patrol.

    Keep up the good work, I enjoy seeing these issues out in the open, maybe they will get addressed? The public deserves better.

  2. QuickCallTempe! says:

    You didn’t put this in terms our command can understand. Let me help you out here.

    1. Wildcat college has half the people to protect as Sun Devil college.
    2. Wildcat college has twice the officers of Sun Devil college.
    3. Sun Devil college has four campus’s to deploy half the patrol units Wildcat college has on one college.
    4. Officers at Wildcat and Sun Devil get paid the same.
    5. If you don’t see a clue to a possible management problem, a morale problem, a lack of leadership, then go back to #1 and repeat the list. This is happening as surrounding departments are doing very little hiring.

  3. Justanotherdispensible50 says:

    We have no organizational structure, we have a giant load of supervisors jumping the chain of command at all times with a couple of officers wishing for capable leadership so the nightmare would end. Wait, we also have PA’s riding shotgun because they might be our closest backup sometimes.

  4. Thinblueline1 says:

    The promotional process seems more like a buying loyalty program because they have no other way to earn it. We don’t have the staffing to lose more people to positions where people don’t work.

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