From: Kevin Salcido
Sent: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:53 AM
Cc: Morgan Olsen; John Pickens (Chief of Police)
Subject: Protecting Safety Sensitive Information
As a university, ASU supports freedom of expression.
As an employer, ASU respects all laws pertaining to protected employee activity.
As we are all aware, the Integrity report blog has existed for some time now as a forum for some employees to express their opinions about ASU PD operations.
Recently, a staffing schedule was posted to the blog that described manpower levels at our campuses. This posting exceeds the bounds of free expression and protected activity because it has safety and security implications for the ASU community.
While ASU has remained neutral in matters pertaining to the blog, it should be understood that anyone who publicly shares or takes and posts sensitive operational information, obtained through any means , which could potentially compromise the security and safety of the ASU community can and will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
We have launched several programs in the ASU PD in the past few months aimed at improving officer recruitment, morale and retention. These programs are already showing positive results. As always, those wishing to report legitimate concerns can do so through their chain of command, the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Equity and Inclusion or through our Hotline program.
We should not lose sight of the fact that, personal opinions aside, we are here to create a safe environment for our students. Let’s work together in a professional and transparent manner to make the ASU PD a high performing law enforcement organization.
Sent on behalf of:
Associate Vice President/Chief Human Resource Officer
Arizona State University
There are several inaccurate statements that are presented in this email from Mr. Salcido.
- 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).
- In October 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.
- Secondly, ASUPD has policies which are overly broad and seek to curtail ANY negative comments an employee has against the department. An example:
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
6. is made with reckless disregard for truth.
- (The areas highlighted in bold are considered protected speech under the aforementioned court cases)
- Third, the security issue you claim The Integrity Report has created by posting a portion of the schedule is nonsense. We posted a schedule that had already happened and was old (save for one day). We redacted names of the employees listed out of respect for their privacy. The security issues illustrated are the ones that the department created by having an inadequate number of officers to effectively police all of ASUPD’s campuses, hands down. The only safety and security implications this has for the ASU community is showing them how understaffed and overworked ASUPD’s officers are, and how ill-equipped the department is to handle a major incident on campus. The number of officers working at ASUPD are far BELOW the national averages for number of officers per 1,000 students on public universities/colleges, according to the Department of Justice.
- Fourth, name the programs you created (other than the officer recruitment program) that have been improving staffing and employee morale. Giving your employees a slight pay increase (which is maybe less compared to the loss of wages from no cost of living incentives or uniform allowance) hasn’t solved the morale or retention issues; morale continues to be non-existent at ASUPD, because the officers there are STILL overworked, and underpaid. Furthermore, hiring more people does NOT equal having more staff. These people still need to complete academies, pass through ASUPD’s stellar FTO program, and actually remain in the department for a significant amount of time.
- Fifth, no action has been taken in regard to the number of people that have come to your office, Kevin, to discuss their horrible experiences from ASUPD. Nothing.
- Finally, all of the PD’s employees are pretty transparent with their feelings and opinions on how they have seen ASUPD slowly fall apart since Chief Pickens has been at the helm. Why not extend your employees the same courtesy and have the same transparency yourself?
Thank you for your readership, Mr. Salcido; for a blog full of “disgruntled employees” (by your own admission), you sure appear to be giving it a significant amount of attention.