Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dissecting ASUPD’s recruiting video

ASUPD recently put out a recruiting video (you can watch it here) that was very well produced, but it was full of inaccurate  or misleading statements. Here’s our dissection of ASUPD’s recruiting video.

#1 “Great New Facility” This is a misleading statement because the building is going on 8 years old. While this building is a huge improvement over the old one, it remains mostly empty except for the top heavy management third floor and one quarter of the second floor.

#2 “Specialty Assignments” This video gives you the impression that if you work hard you will get a specialty assignment, which is inaccurate. Specialty assignments, with the exception of investigations, are one person details that took half a law enforcement career to get into. All of these assignments are currently filled, and the people in them aren’t leaving anytime soon.

#3 “Bike Squad” There is no designated ASU bike squad, and there never has been. The phrase “Bike Squad” implies you are out patrolling on a bike alongside fellow officers as part of a team. The only ASU officer on a bike squad is the one loaned to Tempe to be a part of their bike squad. The only place you will see more than one ASU officer on a bike is at an ASU football game working overtime. It’s not a squad, it’s a once in a while overtime detail lasting a few hours. ASUPD policy requires more than one officer on duty in order for one to be allowed to ride bikes. The numbers of officers has been so low that no officers have been riding bikes for years unless it’s at a football game.

#4 “Narcotics Unit” There is no ASU Narcotics Unit whatsoever! The phrase “Narcotics Unit” implies you are part of a group of people going after drug dealers, suppliers. There should be one considering the amount of illegal drug use on campus (and the recent DPS bust of an ecstasy pill factory in Vista). We don’t even have a drug dog on campus!.  The only ASU officer on a narcotics unit is the one we loaned to Tempe to be a part of their narcotics unit.

#5 “Investigations” Investigations consists of a Sergeant and two officers currently. There is currently one competent detective left, as the other competent one left the department for another agency that appreciates his experience and work ethic. The footage shows the other remaining “detective”  dusting for prints inside the department. This “detective”  spent under a year on patrol after the academy before she moved into investigations.

#6 Joint Terrorism Taskforce Our only link with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce is the corporal we sent them to work full time in their office. His time in the JTTF has really no benefit for ASU, as he spends most of his time doing work unrelated to ASUPD. The footage here shows us at “the qualification range” which is a patch of desert on the Salt River Indian Reservation which is usually 110+ degrees in the summer time.

 Urban Environment: Not sure what benefit this is supposed to represent. Urban compared to Phoenix AZ? No. Urban compared to Gilbert  AZ Yes. Was this selling point supposed to represent all four of the campus’s we staff? Polytechnic campus is urban? No. The last officer in this slide quit the department for another department prior to the release of this video!

 Unique Modes of transportation: You get to be ridiculed for driving around in an electric powered hybrid Ford Escape mocked up to represent a police patrol vehicle.  If there’s more than one officer (and there never is unless you are at Tempe) you get a Segway like Paul Blart Mall Cop, or a mountain bike, or a small cc scooter…if you wait a year or many more for the training to come around. Remember, you can’t pedal a bicycle unless you’re trained.

 Special Events: Probably a third of the ASUPD staff work overtime for the university. The ASUPD earns half of what the vendors pay for your overtime and you get the other half. Too few ASUPD staff work overtime details that the events coordinator is required to offer outside agencies overtime details to get them filled.  After a group departure of dispatchers from three years ago we are still offering department overtime for outside agencies to work our dispatch.

Promote from within: Some internal promotions have been merit-based (we do have some Sergeants that genuinely care about their employees), but primarily promotion processes at ASUPD are riddled with politics. Factors such as who you know, how much brown nosing you accomplished, how you made yourself look competent by putting down others become standard. Promoting people with these character traits reinforces the idea that in this organization it’s not about what you can do in police work.

Tuition Waivers: Assuming you are looking to utilize this benefit, the department’s short staffing make it impossible to take advantage of this perk; after all, how can you plan your class schedule if your work schedule changing REGULARLY due to “poor staffing”

Join us in partnership: The most watered down, over used generic phrase imaginable. The department is a house divided against itself when it should be one team, so if the public doesn’t join us we have nothing.

In conclusion this video packed with half-truths  in order for the department to attract prospective employees. ASUPD has a lot of internal work to do before it will be able to respect and retain its employees, and thus eleminate the need for a video filled with fluff.  This gimmick video is the latest of a series of gimmicks enlisted to retain or attract employees without any effort or cost to the department.

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According to an FBI report, the number of active shooters has INCREASED.

From Campus Safety Magazine:

According to a study recently released by the FBI, from 2000 to 2012, the rate of active shooter incidents in the United States increased, particularly after 2008.

Between 2000 and 2008, approximately one event occurred every other month (five per year), but that rate increased to one per month between 2009 and 2012 (nearly 16 per year). The authors say the high rate continued in 2013 — there were 15 incidents last year.

The most common location of an active shooter incident between 2000 and 2012 was a business (40%), while schools were the second most common location (29%). Nearly one in five events (19%) occurred outdoors.

The median response time for law enforcement was 3 minutes, and the median response time for solo officers was 2 minutes. The median number of people shot per event was five, not including the shooter. All of the events identified by the authors involved single shooters (94% were male), and in 55% of the events, the shooter had a connection with the attack location.

View the charts from this report.

“It also is worth noting that in the five largest-casualty events (Northern Illinois University in DeKalb; Sandy Hook Elementary School; Fort Hood Army Base, Killeen, Texas; Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg; and the Century 21 Theater) the police were on scene in about 3 minutes; yet, a substantial number of people still were shot and injured or killed,” the report claims.

Nearly half (49%) of the incidents ended before police arrived at the scene: 67% percent ended by the shooter dying by suicide or leaving the scene; 33% ended by the potential victims stopping the shooter themselves.

Of the 51% of incidents that were still going when law enforcement arrived, 40% of the attackers either died by suicide or surrendered to police.  In the other cases (60%), police officers used force to stop the attackers, most often with firearms.

Again, it is important to note that it is a matter of WHEN, not IF an active shooter scenario transpires at ASU. According to this report, schools are the second most frequent location for an active shooter!! Proper and regular training of officers would ensure an appropriate response, but instead ASUPD has given NO additional training for its officers about how to respond to an active shooter. This, coupled with dangerously low staffing numbers on campus make ASUPD vulnerable to lawsuits when an such an incident occurs, primarily because of the lack of training officers receive to handle these types of calls.

When will the Chief realize the importance of active shooter training and appropriate planning for a critical incident?

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Racist frat party highlights ASU’s discrepancy in addressing problems!

On Thursday, January 23, 2014, ASU’s President Michael Crow issued an official statement slamming the racist actions of an ASU fraternity on Dr. Martin Luther King day (the fraternity, TKE, held an MLK-themed party in which participants wore stereotypical hip-hop clothes, flashed gang signs, and drank out of watermelon cups).

In his statement, Crow says, “TKE was suspended on January 20, 2014 for hosting an unregistered, off-campus event on January 19, 2014 that encouraged a racially-incentive theme and created an environment conducive to underage consumption of alcohol. ASU is continuing to investigate the actions of individual fraternity members and other students who may have attended the party under the ASU Student Code of Conduct. When students gather as part of a university recognized organization, whether it is a varsity sports team, the student newspaper, an academic club or a fraternity, students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the core values of ASU, which include respect for all people, races and cultures. The TKE party held last weekend was not held on campus and was not a sanctioned university event.”

This party managed to elicit a response and reaction from the PRESIDENT of ASU practically overnight! What distinguishes this specific party from any of the other egregious actions committed by members of ASU’s Greek community is the fact that this party made national news. CNN’s Anderson Cooper called these ASU students “morons” in a 2 1/2 minute segment on CNN.

Contrast this situation to that which is transpiring currently at ASUPD: a department chronically plagued with low morale, low staffing, and a litany of issues in regards to sexual harassment, mismanagement of public funds, and a training program rife with legal liability. Why is Michael Crow so quick to decry this specific situation, when far bigger issues go unaddressed? The simple answer is negative publicity. When something so overtly disgusting–such as a racist party–makes the national headlines, ASU’s primary concern is saving face. Notice how in Crow’s statement, he asserts TWICE that this incident was NOT university sanctioned, and was off campus (in a recent dorm room drug bust, ASU press releases also emphasized that the incident occurred “off campus”). After all, having a university which is known for partying, crime, and racism is bad for business. ASU is desperately attempting to revamp its public image so more parents feel safe sending their kids here, which equals more $$ for Crow and the rest of ASU’s administrators.

Michael Crow is acutely aware of the situation at ASUPD and is frantically trying to control the negative press and buzz generated by The Integrity Report. He has dispatched Kevin Salcido (head of ASU HR) to do a half-hearted “investigation” on assertions made on this blog. This investigation exists solely to minimize the university’s liability in the chance that ASUPD’s dirty laundry ever becomes public (ASU will assert that they had no knowledge of what was happening at the PD, and will blame Chief Pickens).

The true irony in Crow’s statement is that while ASU students are expected to adhere to a code of conduct, employees are rarely held accountable to their own code of conduct. This becomes obvious when a handful of employees (none of which have been reprimanded or fired) are the common denominator in virtually every problem at ASUPD. The larger issue then becomes a question of how much more negative press linked to ASUPD is Michael Crow willing to tolerate? Issues which were once only known within the confines of the department have now spread like wildfire throughout the law enforcement AND civilian community in Arizona–it is a matter of time before ASUPD’s problems also make national news.

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DoJ’s analysis of university PDs, and how ASUPD falls short in comparison!

The US Department of Justice has published statistics which analyze a myriad of variables that are applicable to university/college police departments.

This include demographics of sworn officer to student ratio for a several population sizes of universities/colleges.  According to page 3 of the report:

  • Campuses using sworn officers employed on average 2.3 full-time officers per 1,000 students. Private campuses averaged 3 sworn officers per 1,000 students compared to 2.1 sworn officers per 1,000 students on public campuses.  

ASU currently has approximately 73,000 students enrolled on all four of its campuses. If ASU followed the national average of employing 2.1 sworn officers per 1,000 students, the department should employ 153 sworn employees. To put this number into perspective, ASUPD currently has 72 sworn employees (which includes the Chief, Assistant Chiefs, and several Commanders, none of which work patrol. This number also incorporates employees who are in the academy/being hired who should NOT be counted in the “sworn employee” total).

Which universities had the LARGEST amount of sworn employees? According to page 2 of the report:

  • Campus served/Full-time sworn officers:

    Howard University: 166

    Temple University: 119

    University of Pennsylvania: 100

    University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey: 97

    George Washington University: 95

    University of Florida: 86

    Georgia State University: 79

    Yale University: 78

    University of Maryland – College Park: 76

    Vanderbilt University: 76

Of these universities, the only one that has a comparable amount of enrolled students is the University of Florida, at approximately 49,000 students. Interesting to note that the then University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (which has since been incorporated into Rutgers University) had a student population of approximately 7,000, yet had MORE SWORN POLICE OFFICERS THAN ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY!

The DoJ also analyzed the demographics of its sworn employees, both by sex and race. According to page 5 of the report:

  • During the 2004-05 school year, 31% of sworn campus officers were a racial or ethnic minority. A sixth (17%) were women.

In it’s 2011 Final Report, CALEA noted that 88% of ASUPD’s officers were male (26% percent being a racial or ethnic minority), and 12% of its officers were female. The numbers of minority and female officers has also dropped considerably since 2011. CALEA also noted, in its report, that ASUPD “failed to reflect its available workforce (48.3% female) as it relates to female officers”.

The type of work the majority of sworn university/college police departments were engaged in was also analyzed. On page 6 of the report:

  • 90% or more of sworn police officers were responsible for routine patrol, special event security, violent crime investigation, property crime investigation, traffic enforcement
  • 90% or more of non-sworn security were responsible for routine patrol, building lockup/unlock, special event security, parking enforcement .

The latter sounds like the majority of work ASUPD’s officers are required to do by Command staff.

Perhaps after reading this post, Chief Pickens and his illustrious Command staff should read another publication by the Department of Justice, entitled Establishing Appropriate Staffing Levels for Campus Public Safety Departments.

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ASUPD spends federal grant money on items “outside the grant’s purpose”

Anti-terrorism ‘fusion centers’ get failing marks from US panel

October 08, 2012 12:00 am    Maryann Batlle Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON – Arizona agencies were among those singled out in a two-year Senate probe that reported “widespread deficiencies” in a Homeland Security Department program that officials touted for years as a centerpiece in U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

The report found that the local-federal “fusion centers” that were supposed to aid the federal government in terrorism prevention instead produced intelligence that was “oftentimes shoddy” and “unrelated to terrorism.” It also said federal officials could not adequately track millions of dollars directed to the centers.

Included in the questionable spending was money to Arizona law enforcement agencies that was used to buy sport utility vehicles and to outfit the “wire room,” a surveillance monitoring room at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, the state’s fusion center.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a written statement that the committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations “found a remarkable degree of ineffectiveness, ineptitude and waste” in the program.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor, said the subcommittee’s report is “wrong and misleading by omission.” She said she believes fusion centers provide “a big service to the community” by augmenting existing counterterrorism efforts.

There are 77 fusion centers across the country. While the state and local law enforcement hubs perform many roles, their anti-terrorism functions were beefed up, and the number of centers increased, after 9/11 to aid the federal government in terrorism prevention.

Matt Mayer, a former senior Homeland Security official who worked under Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, said he fought the expansion of the centers but lost. Mayer said the department focused on “quantity over quality” and is underfunding centers in critical areas.

“There are bright spots out there … but, unfortunately, a lot of (fusion centers) exist that don’t deserve funding,” said Mayer, now a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Among its findings, the subcommittee said that DHS could not provide an “accurate tally” of the program’s total costs, but that estimates ranged from $289 million to $1.4 billion.

Some of that DHS grant money went to the Arizona Department of Public Safety to fund initiatives at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center.

The subcommittee questioned federal oversight of some of the Arizona spending, including one case when a state official expressed concern about the legitimacy of spending $1.98 million to lease space, which is not strictly allowed. The state official was assured it would be OK in an email, complete with smiley-face emoticon, from an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Federal funds also paid for two SUVs outfitted with specialized equipment, most of which fell outside of the scope of the program, the report said.

The Department of Public Safety used about $33,500 in grant funds to buy an SUV in 2008 for a terrorism liaison officer at the Flagstaff Fire Department, and another $9,400 on aftermarket equipment that would let it respond to chemical, biological and other events. But the report said such responses are unrelated to “essential fusion center capability” under the program.

“The city official to whom the vehicle was assigned told the subcommittee he keeps the truck at his house and uses it primarily to commute between his home and the Flagstaff Fire Department,” the report said.

In 2009, the Arizona State University Police Department got an SUV that was paid for with about $47,000 in grant funds, also for a terrorism liaison officer. Again, the subcommittee found the expenses outside the grant’s purpose.

The subcommittee also pointed to $64,000 in federal funds used to buy software, a laptop, monitors and two 42-inch flat-screen televisions for “the wire room,” a surveillance room used for criminal investigations. But the subcommittee noted that program guidelines “do not include covert or surreptitious intelligence gathering.”

The report said the centers have not “yielded timely, useful” counterterrorism information. It noted that ACTIC was linked to incorrect information after the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson, which suggested that shooter Jared Lee Loughner was linked to an anti-Semitic and anti-government group. Many of the claims made in the document were later proven false, the report said.

Fusion confusion

Included in a Senate investigation into federal spending on local-federal “fusion centers” was spending by Arizona officials on items that members of the subcommittee questioned:

• In 2008, the Arizona Department of Public Safety spent more than $33,500 on a Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and another $9,400 to install aftermarket equipment. The report said the expenditures were unrelated to “essential fusion center activity.”

• In 2009, the state used $47,000 in Department of Homeland Security funds for a Chevrolet Tahoe SUV that it gave to the Arizona State University Police Department.

• In 2009, roughly $64,000 went for surveillance-technology training and to equip a criminal-investigation surveillance room, known as “the wire room,” for Arizona’s fusion center. It bought software, a new laptop, monitors and two 42-inch flat screen televisions, even though the program does not call for “surreptitious intelligence gathering.”

• In 2011, faulty intelligence originating from the Arizona fusion center suggested Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner might have been be linked to an anti-Semitic and anti-government group, claims that later proved to be false.

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New officer resigns after being sworn in at ASUPD

On January 16, 2014, Chief John Pickens was due to swear in the three new officers who had successfully passed their AZPOST test. These new officers were very desperately needed in the department to alleviate ongoing staffing concerns. After the swearing in ceremony, one of the three officers presented chief with something he should be well acquainted with–a letter of resignation. The chief was enraged. Shortly afterwards the issued equipment–the new clunky and garish badge, uniform with new patches–were all being turned back into the property room to await their new owner (who probably wouldn’t be hanging around long either).  

As esteemed members of the ASU Police Department, we would like to extend a special thanks to this officer for embodying the department’s toxic state into one singular action. It serves to illustrate the disturbing reality we live with daily which is putting more bodies into a lousy workplace won’t fix any of the problems at the department, it will only perpetuate them.

This latest lateral officer isn’t the first officer to do this by any stretch; there have been plenty who have quit in short order once they were exposed to our workplace. Chief Pickens is too proud to acknowledge the problems, too inept to understand and fix them. How many more employees must we tear through before Pickens realizes poor morale is the cause of the staffing problem??

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Editorial: Show us the receipts!

It has been a minute since the writers at The Integrity Report have crafted any sort of ‘editorial’. Our main focus is factually reporting events that transpire at ASUPD, and intertwining them with pertinent news articles, snippets from books, and data analysis. We aim to present this information in a manner that is very straightforward, because the subject matter is shocking enough to speak for itself. On occasion, this approach can feel one-dimensional, and sometimes fails to tie facts and ideas into “the bigger picture”; that is where our editorial perspective is most effective.

In a very predictive fashion, ASUPD’s response to The Integrity Report has been incredibly reactionary in nature. The issues discussed on the blog have been a recapitulation of problems that have plagued the department for years, but the primary difference between the issues in the past and those in the present boil down to publicity. Because ASUPD’s problems are now out in the public realm, Chief Pickens and his Command staff are forced to react to this information, if only for the purposes of saving face.

This “kneejerk” response on behalf of command staff is readily apparent in the haphazard methodology in which the department has utilized to address problems. Instead of sitting down and hashing out a strategic plan to dismantle the self-destructing time bomb (which is common practice in the public sector when new programs/initiatives are implemented), Pickens has chosen to focus on the low hanging fruit–looking at the short term problem of staffing and ignoring the long term question of, “what is causing this chronic staffing issue?!”. Answering the latter question would require an honest and open assessment of the abilities and skills of your subordinates, as well as oneself (and its much easier to blame problems on “bad attitudes” or poor work ethic of your employees).

Nonetheless, the most recent and reactionary response [of the continuous bad press] by Pickens and Command staff is to have mandatory meetings for employees at the satellite campuses. These “meetings” have done nothing productive for the department’s employees and have only served the purpose of verbal masturbation–ie, tell me some positive information so I feel better about myself. If the department was truly serious about showing its employees it was actively working to fix problems, it would have some tangible thing to present (a game plan, if you will) that would serve the duel purpose of being an informative tool, and providing accountability to Pickens and Command staff.

Merely telling us that golly, you’re working really hard to make ASUPD a nicer place to work serves no purpose. It does not prove you have actively done anything but sit in meetings all day, freaking out. This is the same plot line as the movie The Wizard of Oz: we’re the leaders, you should believe everything we tell you, but you can’t know what secret plans we have going on, and you CERTAINLY can’t look behind the curtain!

Well Pickens–the gig is up. People from all over the valley are now paying attention to ASUPD’s missteps–other university officials, other police departments, the City of Tempe, the media, and private citizens, to name a few. You can’t hide from answering the hard questions anymore. If you are really serious about fixing the department, show us the receipts; outline the steps you and your Command staff are taking to tackle the hard issues. If not–to borrow one of your colloquial phrases–McDonald’s is always hiring.

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Transparency in police budgets: why it needs to happen at ASUPD

Because Arizona State University is a public university–funded by tax payers–budget expenditures for the university are readily accessible (via web/hard copy). However, one budget that is noticeably absent from public view would be that of the ASUPD! When referenced in the context of the university’s budget as a whole, it is summarily tossed in to the “public service” sector tag with other departments. Therefore, seeing the actual operating costs and expenditures of ASUPD is impossible, short of a FOIA request.

Why is this important, you ask?

There has been a huge discrepancy in the amount of funds Chief Pickens repeatedly says the department doesn’t have (and then arbitrarily spends), and the amount of money the department has frivolously spent. 

For a department that is so cash strapped, ASUPD seems to materialize funds when they are desperate to retain people. Prior to the situation in the summer of 2013, the only raise ASUPD employees had received in five years came from the Governor’s office (in which state employees were given a 3% pay raise). This is coupled with the fact the 3% pay raise did NOT replace the lost wages accrued from a lack of cost of living raises, and a uniform allowance. [As an aside, the Chief and Command staff have been consistently  receiving pay raises/incentives during the time period when the rest of the department was on a pay freeze! Chief Pickens’ is also one of the highest paid Chiefs in the valley!] .However, after the scandal broke, Sergeants and Officers found themselves receiving a pay increase after being told previously there was no money in the department’s budget to do so. Additionally, several members of the department who were leaving for greener pastures were also offered small amounts of money to entice them to remain at ASUPD.

Frivolous spending throughout the department’s “tough financial situation”, however, remained at an all-time high.

Chief Pickens decided to replace ALL the sworn cotton uniforms with a cotton/wool blend that degraded faster and cost more to maintain. He also completely redid  and replaced ALL of the department’s badges, despite the fact funds were desperately needed on the patrol side for new employees and new vehicles. Fairly soon, the Chief will also be revamping the departments’ patch, costing time and money to replace the preexisting patch.

Chief Pickens also routinely spends unknown amounts of money on other items such as regular lunches for himself and command staff, a take home vehicle for himself and several other members of the department, and possibly even traveling with the football team.(As an aside, several other Police Chiefs across the country have come under intense scrutiny for frivolous spending of tax payer money, such as Baltimore’s former Police Commissioner  ,a St. Louis County Police Chief, and an Ohio Police Chief).  Not surprisingly, in a 2011 assement, CALEA noted that the methodology utilized by ASUPD to track cash account activities made it difficult to keep track of how much was actually being spent.

The Integrity Report also did a cost analysis on ASUPD’s FTO program which showed the department had spent nearly a million dollars in two years on its failing FTO program; approximately 1/2 million dollars was spent on training employees who quit the department after less than a year of working there (with some only staying for MONTHS at a time!). This number is especially shocking when you consider it doesn’t include the salary of the Sergeant who had no qualification/training to run an FTO program (approximately $70k), or the salary of the FTO’s who were also not qualified to train new officers.

In summary, there has been an untold amount of tax-payer money being misappropriated by the Chief in various forms, which could be used to aid the underpaid, under trained, and unequipped employees who are still trying to hold the department together. The tax paying citizens of Arizona should be outraged enough to demand each requisition, receipt, and budget from ASUPD so that the many of these  public officials–including Chief Pickens–are help accountable. Perhaps this blog post will prompt the mainstream media to undertake this challenge?



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Civilian employees: the backbone of ASUPD

The primary focus at The Integrity Report has been addressing department-wide issues in general; however, these issues are most applicable to the sworn sector of the department. We wanted to specifically address our civilian sector, too; without them, the department would be even more in shambles than it currently is (if that’s possible!).

When we discuss civilian employees, who do we mean specifically? Police Aides, dispatches, administrative assistants, evidence and fleet technicians. Because of their support staff roles, we feel their concerns have a tendency to be overlooked by command staff (who is currently fixated on the sworn staffing situation). Here’s a brief list (and by no means “all inclusive”) of issues command staff needs to address to improve the productivity and retention of the backbone of ASUPD–the civilian employees.

  • Pay Raises: Yes, we know everyone wants a pay raise, but the civilian employees definitely deserve one. While officers have been getting pay raises (albeit insignificant ones), the PAs and dispatchers have not been receiving any sort of pay raise, and also make considerably less than their peers (see the salaries tables located here). If you want to hire and retain best employees, you have to give them an incentive to stay!
  • Training: PAs have been routinely used to supplement the low patrol numbers, which means they are regularly dispatched to calls in which they are ill-equipped to respond (dispatched to violent subject calls, often backup for an officer when they’re going hands on). Give them taser training as well as some advanced cuffing techniques, so they can be utilized effectively. PAs and dispatchers should also be incorporated into sworn training when possible.
  • Use them effectively: There are lots of PAs with former law enforcement/military experience, or highly educated/specialized degrees who are not being utilized effectively. There are many ways the department could deploy these people with experience, especially in a way that would be helpful during a staffing crisis. Instead of ignoring or discounting their experience, let them use it to make the department more effective and efficient.
  • Allow for career development…if they want it: Allow the civilian employees the opportunity to USE their tuition reimbursement or enroll in additional training, when possible. It is difficult to schedule classes/training when your workweek can change at the drop of the hat to suit the department’s needs. Also recognize that some people DON’T want career advancement for whatever reason–its their retirement job, they’re going to school for another career field–whatever. Constantly hounding employees to test for officer positions is pointless for people who don’t want to work in the field or are using ASUPD as a vehicle for somewhere else.
  • They’re the “eyes and ears” for the department…but they’re not sources of intel: Civilian employees are used as “eyes and ears” for the sworn staff; there are easily more civilian employees than sworn, so they can observe and report activity that patrol wouldn’t normally see. However, just because they see or hear a lot does NOT make them a source of intel or gossip! There has been several supervisors who have tried to use PAs or dispatchers to spy on other employees for the purposes of bullying/getting an officer in trouble. This is absurd! It’s not high school anymore, and the civilian employees don’t want to be involved in departmental drama or gossip.
  • Supervise their supervisors: This is a huge one. Make sure the people that supervise civilian employees know what they’re doing and know HOW to manage people. How long did a former dispatch supervisor terrorize her employees before she left? How many complaints were made against PA Lead Atkinson or Nasca before someone realized they were NOT good supervisors? Civilian supervisors should be instructed how to properly and unfairly evaluate employees using a standardized method in addition to receiving training on how to manage people and resources effectively. Just because you have a civilian in a supervisor position does NOT mean he or she know how to do the job. (That being said…there are also some pretty stellar supervisors!!)
  • APPRECIATE YOUR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES!!: Some supervisors are excellent on giving accolades to their civilian employees when a major event transpires on the sworn side (Sgt. T was always giving out “atta boys” for this civilian employees)…but quite frankly, a lot of them don’t. You can (to an extent) mitigate low pay, poor working conditions–a myriad of other variables–IF you employees feel appreciated, invested, and are happy. This means giving them credit for great work they do, both visible or behind the scenes (look at how much work was put into revamping the evidence processing, fleet/equipment managing, or how much behind the scenes work the admin assistants do regularly). Their roles SUPPORT the function of the sworn side, so without them, the sworn side cannot perform their duties.
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Why are the proposed solutions to ASUPD’s problems being ignored?

Recently, members of the Chief’s Advisory Board were tasked with assisting both Chief Pickens and ASUPD command staff in identifying major problems that are currently plaguing the department. Having “the worker bees” compile a list of problems would, in theory, put command staff more in touch with what issues the line-level employee is currently experiencing (and also allows the upper-echelons of the department to appear they are “tackling issues” when, in reality, their role is strictly reactionary).

However, what Pickens’ did NOT anticipate was that the problems his employees identified would be of any true significance, and  also how tired his employees were of having their problems rephrased in a “diplomatic way”. What was shocking about these revelations is how openly discussed they were in a generalized sense on the ground level, but how absent they seemed to be when pen came to paper on the third floor. Members of the advisory board even went one step further, by countering all the problems that were identified at ASUPD with possible short and long term solutions! (Please see here for the full document: Advisory Board Meeting_3rd_revision).

The reaction of Pickens  was to categorically minimize the actual problems that were identified, and then very generally appear to work on a solution when the grumbles of dissatisfied employees reached a fever-pitch. In reality, all the solutions to the aforementioned problems were already neatly and smartly presented to the Chief in the form of a PowerPoint by his “bees”, all he had to do was evaluate and implement them.

Why the absolute disconnect between the proposal of solutions at the employee level and the implementation at the command level? Approximately three months have transpired since Pickens was presented with this document! While we don’t have the complete answer, we postulate that staffing has damaged the department beyond the point of ANY intervention, or that command staff is attempting to alter this plan and present it as their own. Chief: regardless of the reason, it is reckless and cowardly to stand around taking NO action while ASUPD continues to fall further down the rabbit hole. You elicited the feedback from your employees for a reason; listen to them!

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