How ASUPD is attempting to violate your 1st, 4th Amendment rights.

ASUPD has been in a tizzy regarding the posts on The Integrity Report, to the extent the department has been actively trying to find the persons responsible for creating this site. Obtaining our IP address would require a search warrant to do so, and no judge in their right mind would sign one, simply because ASUPD “doesn’t like what is being said about the department”. Remember, although we are law enforcement officers, we still have protections under the 1st Amendment which include your freedom of speech. In this post, we’ll assess how ASUPD’s policies and practices are infringing on YOUR 1st Amendment rights as a US Citizen. It’s important to note that the department CAN control what you say while you are working in the capacity of a police officer, because the speech you are making is viewed as connected to your employment.

ASUPD has created some broad, catch all policies to curtail negative things being said about them, including:

Employees of the Department shall not criticize or ridicule the Department, its policies, or other officers or employees by speech, writing, or other expression, when such speech, writing, or other expression:

1. is defamatory, obscene, or unlawful;

2. tends to interfere with or to undermine the effectiveness of the Department to

provide public services;

3. tends to interfere with the maintenance of proper discipline;

4. tends to adversely affect the confidence of the public in the integrity of the

Department and/or its officers and employees;

5. Improperly damages or impairs the reputation and efficiency of the

Department; or

6. is made with reckless disregard for truth.

Let’s evaluate this policy, shall we? Nothing that has been said here on The Integrity Report is obscene, untrue, would interfere with ASU’s ability to provide public services, interfere with discipline, or recklessly disregards the truth. All of those parts of the policy are fall in line with parts of the 1st Amendment that are NOT considered to be “protected speech”.

However, the parts of the policy which seek to limit speech based on the negative impact it would have on the public’s confidence and integrity of the department, as well as the potential damage the speech would have on the department are OVERLY BROAD.

Citing Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 563 (1968), The US Supreme Court held that an employee’s interest as a citizen in making public comment needs to be balanced against the employer’s competing interest “in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.” This “balancing test” will weigh in favor of the employee when the speech is made as a citizen on a matter of public concern. In 2006 the Federal Circuit court ruled in Garcetti that an employee is protected only if the speech is unconnected to employment (in addition to the balancing test established in Pickering). (Please see this article at PoliceOne for an expanded view of the aforementioned court cases).

Additionally, on Oct. 1, 2012, U.S. District Judge William W. Caldwell ruled in Beyer v. Duncannon Borough that a former police officer’s anonymous online speech was a form of protected citizen speech because he was speaking matters of formal concern.

This blogs exists as an informal mouthpiece for ASUPD’s employees to highlight areas we feel are of GREAT public concern; additionally, the anonymity of this blog separates it from any formal connection to ASUPD.

The ASUPD policy that seeks to infringe upon the 1st, and 4th Amendment rights of its employees is annotated under “Public Relations, General”. The policy states:

·         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.

The “reasonable suspicion” standard was established in O’Connor v. Ortega, which held that governmental employees are afforded 4th Amendment protections during investigations by supervisors for administrative investigations. However, this case dealt with a person’s office being searched, NOT a more intrusive search of a person’s social media accounts.

If we as police officers seize a person’s password-protected computer as evidence and the suspect refuses to consent to a search, we must obtain a search warrant to view the contents of the computer. How is requiring its officers to turn over their PASSWORD PROTECTED personal accounts any different? Especially since everything written here has been written and accessed OFF-DUTY.

As police officers, we are bound by the constraints of the Constitution in order to effectively impart justice. Our position does impose limitations on what we can/cannot say while discharging our duties as a law enforcement officer. However, we are also all private citizens who ALSO have Constitutional rights and protections, with free speech being one of those. The policies made by ASUPD that attempt to thwart free speech can NOT usurp our protections under the Constitution.

Chief, you need to have a long talk with ASU’s Legal Counsel to assess the legality of some of your policies.  

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15 thoughts on “How ASUPD is attempting to violate your 1st, 4th Amendment rights.

  1. ComeOnNow says:

    Let me first state that this blog COULD be an effective method for collaborating with each other to identify and address issues affecting morale, retention, safety, etc. Unfortunately, this blog has devolved into a place where users post personal, non-work related attacks on each other which undermine what I believe to be the intended purpose of the blog. To the blog’s credit, most of the particularly nasty attacks are in the comments portion, but the responsibility falls to the moderator to remove comments which are either over the line or do not fit the mission of this blog. These posts undermine the credibility of the blog and lead to distrust and contention among peers i.e. “teammates.”

    Before people fly off the handle about censorship and first amendment rights, let me say this. Just because you have the RIGHT to say/post something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD (think Westboro Baptist Church). Keep in mind this blog could be a powerful tool for good, but when posts go against the mission of the blog, they should be removed. Unless, of course, the mission of the blog is to humiliate as many people as possible using half-truths, rumors, mischaracterizations, and exaggerations of fact. Corruption exists, but when everything is made to sound worse to fit the corruption label, it dilutes the effectiveness of exposing actual corruption.

    Everyone has made mistakes (sure, some more than others), and when described a certain way can be made to sound worse than they are. The only way to avoid a sunburn is to stay in the house. In other words, if you are actively working and doing your job, you’re going to make mistakes and get complained upon. You will also receive false complaints. Learn from it, get over it, and move on.

    • theintegrityreport says:

      ComeOnNow,
      We’re not responsible for content in the comments section. While we are not condoning what is being said, we believe everyone should have the right to express their feelings about a respective post, whether or not we personally agree with it. We welcome dissenting opinions, as they help to provide a total perspective of the situations at hand.

      Are you primarily referring to the posts or the readers’ comments when you state that some things here are undermining the mission of the blog? They are two distinctly different things.

      We realize that people make mistakes–we’re all human. We’re not focusing on genuine mistakes people make in the course of their duties; we’re not even primarily focusing on one fleeting mistake. What we’re discussing in this blog is a pattern of mistakes so blatant, it is beyond the realm of one person’s genuine error and falls into the category of a informal departmental policy/procedure. If you can’t see the difference, you won’t be able to grasp the majority of what is being discussed here.

    • DoneSon says:

      ComeOnNow, let’s take a look at your version of the truth based on what you said and what you didn’t say. You said “…this blog COULD be an effective method for collaborating with each other to identify and address issues affecting morale, retention, safety, etc.”

      WRONG, this blog IS an effective method; everyone else is talking on here about details concerning how you say,” issues affecting morale, retention, safety, etc” except you. You are chastising people for putting names to problems? People put names to issues because they didn’t happen in a vacuum, that’s a fact.

      Face it, people at ASUPD did things to ruin ASUPD and just about everyone knows who and what. The department is small and everyone talks. Why have people left the department, or are applying to get out like they are on fire? Because they are on fire, fed up, and don’t want to play the same reindeer games one more minute.

      Come on, your antiseptic approach is unrealistic, childishly optimistic, and out of touch with the reality of the majority, AKA “Drinking the Kool-Aid.”

      You talk about first-hand knowledge. How do you know who has first-hand knowledge on here and who doesn’t? That’s an ASSumption and a weak one at that. Also, if I trust another officer with my life and he trusts me with his am I not going to take their word for it, especially when they have proven their trust? Come on now, more Kool-Aid?

      You talk about professional? Professional in police work means when a suspect calls you an asshole, or the public randomly calls you a pig, you laugh it off and it doesn’t bother you because they are attacking the uniform. When the people you work within your own agency are habitually predatory towards your brothers on the thin blue line, driving your backup out the department, the people they are supposed to support, how does that not make people upset?

      If someone wants to be upset and vent a little on here that’s understandable. If you had a blessed existence here because you played politics by having your head up someone’s ass I’m not impressed. Offer some credible statements of the issues you admit to existing, build some credibility here before you start making demands.

      How are you not being allowed to express a “modicum of dissent”? Are you talking openly in the department or on here where your posts are getting posted? The point is you are allowed to express yourself…here, but trying to pretend as if problems don’t have names attached is absurd, writing EVERYONE an amnesty check for their “mistakes” doesn’t cut it.

      It all depends on the mistake. Was it a series of public urination problems (Luke), a string of sexual harassment issues (former AC), or a rapist? Was it a one time learning curve issue OR was it a malicious act after act of a sociopath who has a history of acting out against people they are supposed to support?

      The people on here are talking about real issues that really happened involving real people. If you don’t accept that then you will never be happy with change in the department because it won’t change, neither will the posts on here. Nobody needs another flavor of shit; they need supervisors who support them instead of undermining and playing the gotcha game with them, leaders.

      Do you really think nobody is watching what happens first hand? Why is this so hard for you people to understand? Do you even have a clue as to why people are climbing the walls to get hired on with other departments?

      Maybe they are professionals who are tired of all the unprofessional bullshit they have witnessed, been subject to, and won’t put up with it anymore. Nope, not happening, we don’t have problems, Tempe PD will handle those calls, back us up, everything is fine, be nice, drink more Kool-Aid. Talk about the issues or why the hell did you post here?

  2. ComeOnNow says:

    The intent of my post was to be a call to civility. Again, I’m not suggesting people don’t have the right to express what they want, I’m just suggesting as professionals we be more responsible in our quest to fix the issues of the department and perhaps use only first-hand knowledge rather than relying on the rumor mill. Also, making fun of someone’s height, off-duty hobbies, plays on names, etc. make the forum appear to have petulent children participating rather than law enforcement professionals seeking to right wrongs. I believe a reader of these posts would likely perceive the information as being less credible when it is riddled with personal insults which have nothing to do with the issues. They also serve to affect morale negatively.

    To answer your question (as was stated in my post) most of the childishness is in the comments and not the blog itself.

    This blog is unprecedented, so I would prefer to have it affect positive change and not serve as a place to anonymously air insults behind your peers’ backs while speaking differently to their faces.

    • QuickCallTempe! says:

      It’s easy to take the high ground on using proper polite language for issues that don’t affect you. We have had a command staff that willfully ignored serious personnel issues for years because it simply didn’t affect them or anyone they cared about. Guess what. These issues affected other people, some more than others, and now they finally have a place to express their side of the issue.

      I bet that just drives command crazy. I understand that. What they need to understand is that they created problems, these problems aren’t imagined, and when you look at the attrition rates for officer people are deciding to GETUPNOUT for what some would call “half-truths, rumors, mischaracterizations, and exaggerations of fact.”? Yeah right buddy. Look at the IA posting recently.

      You say, “half-truths, rumors, mischaracterizations, and exaggerations of fact.” If there are those here than address them otherwise you are as guilty as the people standing by as people are victimized. I’m not seeing it otherwise I would say something.

      I read the comments from some posters here and when I’m done laughing I think, yeah the target of that rant really upset this person and a number of people I know and respect. Do I agree with what they said? Yes, most of the time. Do I agree with how everyone on here expresses themselves, No, not always.

      This is the first time I have seen your name on here. Do you have anything worthwhile to contribute or are you going to role-play as a grade school teacher moderating a playground for adults who sometimes use adult only language?

      The chief should be furious with the supervisors under him that created this toxic environment that threatens his formerly comfortable position making 160K. Would he be wrong to do so? No way. He delegated a level of command to them, trusting they would do their jobs, with the entire first floor making plans to leave did they do their jobs?

      If their job was to undermine the chief’s job while having extended lunches undermining the employees under them then yes, but in the real world. No.

    • Captain Obvious says:

      Are you seriously trying to get someone on here to believe that one or two people posting a few angry rant lines about your anti-hero is going to make any difference over whether or not the truckload of other information is taken seriously?

      A few lines of rough text within a library of legitimacy are going to be the deciding point? Come down from your spacecraft, join me on planet earth, let’s discuss where you came from and where you’ve been keeping your head lately. If someone’s delicate Pride and Prejudice feelings were hurt they haven’t dealt with real suspects enough, they say all sorts of naughty words. Oh well.

    • DL500unit says:

      Comeonnow, if you can contribute something worthwhile to the blog and fixing the department instead of playing temperament and language police I would be pleasantly surprised.

      You speak of the blog affecting morale for supervisors, the subject matter for most of the posting that takes place here? What about patrol morale? What about the morale of the people watching their friends, co-workers, backup walking out the door?

      What about the morale of patrol when these guys tell us how much more they will be making working at their new jobs with bosses that treat them with respect? The fact is some people are upset, some more than others, and an occasional swear word just might pop up on the radar, oh well no big deal. That’s really not my concern.

      My concern is watching the problems at my department get fixed ASAP and not being the only person on a serious call when they don’t get fixed.

    • OneFlewOverTheCuckoo'sPD says:

      ComeOnNow, I think you’ve been drinking the ASU PD Kool-Aid. Why don’t you do something positive to change the current toxic environment at ASU PD? Maybe have a chitchat with your illustrious command staff? Maybe provide them with some badly needed mentorship?

    • ComeOnNow says:

      How is it that I’m drinking the Kool Aid or the issues don’t affect me just because I make the suggestion we ensure that what is posted comes from first-hand knowledge and we act like professionals? Isn’t the purpose here to make positive changes that benefit employees and the community we serve? My assumption is the purpose of posting these issues in a public forum to create external pressure to affect changes that have been unable to come about from internal means.

      If an external person, motivated to look into the issues, sees a bunch of personal attacks and sees even one half-truth, that person may discount all the issues. This is why I believe absolute truths and professionalism will have a much more profound influence for good than a bunch of mud-slinging and gossiping. Think about how much you doubt the story of someone you are interviewing in the field once you catch them in even one lie. The whole story is called into question.

      If you can’t participate in a blog without allowing someone to express even a modicum of dissent regarding the tone of what is being said, you will come across as someone who will never be happy no matter how much change comes about.

  3. QuickCallTempe! says:

    The department has a number of civil rights abusive morale defeatist policies in place. In the Land Of The Free and Home of The Brave they want to tell employees what they can and cannot do on their private time and the department must know what it is, where it is and when it is.

    If you want to work somewhere, volunteer somewhere, the department feels it has the right to interfere in your legal private business by threatening you with disciplinary action if you don’t disclose all of your business to them, so they can tell you yes or no now and possibly at a later date of their choosing. Un-American. The People’s Republic of China would be proud.

    Heaven forbid you would not turn in an off duty request to work at a food bank, do someone’s taxes, or anything according to their broad all encompassing policies. They have started IA’s over this stuff and yet still wonder why the troops are cross, why there are less and less troops to address.

  4. Captain Obvious says:

    The fact these things were ever written in a government funded police manual and it’s talking about violating the same principals were swore by oath to uphold is obscene and outrageous to say the least.

    Everyone who had a hand in writing this up and signing off on it needs to immediately conduct training by reading some literature a 9th grader would have to know to pass their government class so they can at least know what country they live in.

    Seriously, everyone responsible for this needs to go attend 9-12 classes again and sit in the front row this time so they can hear the lesson. They should be placed on leave until they can successfully pass a high school test on government.

  5. DL500unit says:

    The ignorance behind a policy like this is probably what made the firearms commander think he had the right to take the personal firearm of an officer they were forcing out the door. They treated him as if he was the one officer tasing handcuffed prisoners, or something else that would make a typical front page article in the New Times or some other rag that hates law enforcement and loves vice.

    In any case policy like this seeks to subvert the supreme law of the land and is illegal. This is something the ACLU would have a field day with, they would probably pen a cease and desist letter if someone tips them off, especially if they ever enforce it. Did the department really have a lawyer look this over? I doubt it.

  6. Godhelpasupd says:

    Very interesting. I can’t believe an attorney looked at this and staked their career on this being acceptable. Furthermore I can’t believe people entrusted with enforcing the laws of the land can’t see a contradiction here. For better or worse a department earns it’s reputation. Can you cite the policy number, version, this was in?

  7. DoneSon says:

    ComeOnNow, let’s take a look at your version of the truth based on what you said and what you didn’t say. You said “…this blog COULD be an effective method for collaborating with each other to identify and address issues affecting morale, retention, safety, etc.”

    WRONG, this blog IS an effective method; everyone else is talking on here about details concerning how you say,” issues affecting morale, retention, safety, etc” except you. You are chastising people for putting names to problems? People put names to issues because they didn’t happen in a vacuum, that’s a fact.

    Face it, people at ASUPD did things to ruin ASUPD and just about everyone knows who and what. The department is small and everyone talks. Why have people left the department, or are applying to get out like they are on fire? Because they are on fire, fed up, and don’t want to play the same reindeer games one more minute.

    Come on, your antiseptic approach is unrealistic, childishly optimistic, and out of touch with the reality of the majority, AKA “Drinking the Kool-Aid.”

    You talk about first-hand knowledge. How do you know who has first-hand knowledge on here and who doesn’t? That’s an ASSumption and a weak one at that. Also, if I trust another officer with my life and he trusts me with his am I not going to take their word for it, especially when they have proven their trust? Come on now, more Kool-Aid?

    You talk about professional? Professional in police work means when a suspect calls you an asshole, or the public randomly calls you a pig, you laugh it off and it doesn’t bother you because they are attacking the uniform. When the people you work within your own agency are habitually predatory towards your brothers on the thin blue line, driving your backup out the department, the people they are supposed to support, how does that not make people upset?

    If someone wants to be upset and vent a little on here that’s understandable. If you had a blessed existence here because you played politics by having your head up someone’s ass I’m not impressed. Offer some credible statements of the issues you admit to existing, build some credibility here before you start making demands.

    How are you not being allowed to express a “modicum of dissent”? Are you talking openly in the department or on here where your posts are getting posted? The point is you are allowed to express yourself…here, but trying to pretend as if problems don’t have names attached is absurd, writing EVERYONE an amnesty check for their “mistakes” doesn’t cut it.

    It all depends on the mistake. Was it a series of public urination problems (Luke), a string of sexual harassment issues (former AC), or a rapist? Was it a one time learning curve issue OR was it a malicious act after act of a sociopath who has a history of acting out against people they are supposed to support?

    The people on here are talking about real issues that really happened involving real people. If you don’t accept that then you will never be happy with change in the department because it won’t change, neither will the posts on here. Nobody needs another flavor of shit; they need supervisors who support them instead of undermining and playing the gotcha game with them, leaders.

    Do you really think nobody is watching what happens first hand? Why is this so hard for you people to understand? Do you even have a clue as to why people are climbing the walls to get hired on with other departments?

    Maybe they are professionals who are tired of all the unprofessional bullshit they have witnessed, been subject to, and won’t put up with it anymore. Nope, not happening, we don’t have problems, Tempe PD will handle those calls, back us up, everything is fine, be nice, drink more Kool-Aid. Talk about the issues or why the hell did you post here?

  8. […] First, ASU does not respect all laws pertaining to protected employee activity. In Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 563 (1968), held that an employee’s interest as a citizen in making public comment needs to be balanced against the employer’s competing interest “in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.” This “balancing test” will weigh in favor of the employee when the speech is made as a citizen on a matter of public concern. In 2006 the Federal Circuit court ruled in Garcetti that an employee is protected only if the speech is unconnected to employment (ie, they are not speaking from their position as an officer or a teacher). […]

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