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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8 thoughts on “Civilian employees: the backbone of ASUPD

  1. DL500unit says:

    The chief sends a great message to all the civilian employees here. I have big pay raise money for my overpaid, underworked commanders, sergeants, a few buck for officers, and NO raises for my poverty line civilians, nope.

    I guess they’re not worth it to the chief. Maybe that’s why they don’t stick around either. Scottsdale, whose chief probably makes less than ours, pays their Police Aides $39,041.60 -$56,617.60 and is hiring right now!

  2. Captain Obvious says:

    The chief has always looked at employees as disposable and none more so than civilian employees. There has been a lot of talk about officers leaving and we’ve lost so many police aides I have lost track. Through the retention of a former hell boss dispatch supervisor we lost how many experienced dispatchers?

    We paid overtime to outside agency dispatchers for how long? The point I’m trying to make is our agency is constantly in overdrive training new employees because we are constantly losing people due to the overlooked workplace issues discussed on this blog.

    Command here doesn’t care, just keeps blowing unlimited amounts of state government money repeatedly year after year. It’s OK, it’s not their money, they still get their six figures for running this agency into the toilet.

  3. jpcode11 says:

    You want a good example of what Chief John Pickens thinks of police aides? Here’s a few real examples.

    When the chief was at Lindberg’s funeral, when the police aides in uniform were lined up with us, and the chief goes down the line shaking all of our hands only to abruptly stop before shaking the police aide hands that shows you what John L. Pickens thinks of his civilian police aides. Ass. They wear police uniforms, go on most of our calls, are frequently misidentified for being police officers, but screw them right?

    They received a raise bumping them up to 30k between 2005-2007 and none since? After taxes and expenses they are making what? 20 something, wow. Time to blow another million on radios. When was the last time they had a real raise unlike all of our command receiving at least two huge known ones in this time period, a 10,000 raise in 2008 when the furloughs were happening, and then another undisclosed amount taking them all comfortably into the six figure range for all their experience being mall cops at ASUPD?

    The chief and command are lip service masters, not leaders, deceivers, not leaders, and that’s why morale is at it’s normal level at out police department, low. This is why most ASUPD people are new people who have been here for a few years if that and most are looking to bounce at the first opportunity as a rule, not an exception.

    • FlamingPileMallcoppery says:

      How the police aides were treated was upsetting, they do a lot for this organization. The chief can’t relate to people period, especially if they’re not makingg six figures. His North Korean leadership style, Kim John Be Illin Pickens, isn’t a good fit here in the states.

  4. Godhelpasupd says:

    The chief would have to work hard to show he cares less for our civilian employees. Is it really any different than how he cares about non-supervisory officers? The chief looks at everyone as disposable, everyone but himself. Lechery, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, Pickens.

    Some things never change, but for the sake of the public, the men and women under Picken’s command we hope this department will drastically change. It needs to in order to be relevant.

  5. Justanotherdispensible50 says:

    If you can’t appreciate the people who work under you, alongside you, then you’re not fit to be a leader because you’re an elitist ass who can’t relate to people. If you can’t relate to people how can you be fit to lead people, serve the public, the community? You can’t.

  6. WheresMy907 says:

    The police aides haven’t seen a raise forever, so what are the chances of them sticking around in significant numbers to supplement our low numbers? We have some really good civilian people who do a lot for this organization.

    Some stay, most don’t, again what’s the incentive? No incentives are why communism failed. Slim Pickens, what’s the answer? “More bodies, more bodies…” Ok chief, calm down.

  7. Supervisor Facepalm says:

    Our civilian staffing fluctuates and have never been full, but they are some of the only staffing numbers we can depend on, they handle a lot of calls that keep our officers 10-8, ready for traffic. I don’t think a lot of them know they can make much more at other agencies doing what they do or doing a little more.

    They get paid 30k to be identified as officers with all their police patches on, nobody seems to notice the little “aide” embroidery. We are still trying to get over our dispatcher shortage, how long will that last?

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