Instead of dealing with crimes on campus, ASU officers are dispatched to handle “policy violations”.

As of August 1, 2013, ASU has gone tobacco free, creating a policy which has completely banned the use of tobacco on all its campuses by. The university has also rolled out a cheesy video instructing students on what to do when they encounter someone who is smoking on campus.

Interesting to note that in its “Tobacco Free FAQ”, the Office of Educational Outreach and Student Services states:

how will the policy be enforced and by whom?

ASU community members are asked to help create a tobacco-free environment using community enforcement. Community enforcement relies on individuals to educate one another about the tobacco-free policy at ASU and ask that individuals extinguish tobacco material.  If a community member is not comfortable doing so, or if an individual repeatedly violates the policy the following actions may be taken.   If a student violates the tobacco-free policy, the location and time of the violation can be reported to the  Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. If a staff member violates the policy, contact their department supervisor.  Campus police will not be responsible for citing individuals for violating this policy.

Why are ASUPD’s officers continuously dispatched to handle ASU policy violations!!? ASUPD’s administration wants to act supportive of this policy–and also the decisions of the university administration–so ASUPD’s officers are required to deal with these “policy violations”. ASUPD administration has placed its officers in a very precocious and political situation; they have absolutely no ability to enforce the policy, but are stuck having to respond to these policy-based issues. (We are not pointing the blame at ANY dispatcher for this situation, by the way!).

The message this type of behavior is sending to the university community is clear: ASUPD’s administration has put more emphasis in handling violations of ASU policy than it has actual crime. This only serves to undermine the departments’ credibility in being able to handle actual CRIME situations.


14 thoughts on “Instead of dealing with crimes on campus, ASU officers are dispatched to handle “policy violations”.

  1. indeedYOUsay says:

    Having uniformed police personel enforcing policy unique to the university is not what a police department is for. If the policy was statewide then it would make sense to make it a law and then it would have some teeth.

    You are correct it does undermine our authority, our purpose, and the diversion further decreases the effectiveness of a critically understaffed police department running on fumes.

  2. Seguridad perdido says:

    Having the police department enforce this makes as much sense as having police enforce ASU parking violations. When a police officer or civilian in a police uniform contacts someone in the public and tells them not to do something only by policy, not covered by law, there’s a problem.

    Even a consensual contact is questionable because you are singling them out based on legal activity and doing so for a policy enforcement purpose. Most people would believe they need to hear what is being told to them, therefore not free to leave.

  3. smokey261 says:

    Our chief is busy saying “Oh yes we can.” to every request and our staffing numbers say something else. This is not a police issue anywhere other than ASU.

  4. DoneSon says:

    The video on the previous post shows what students are concerned about when it comes to public safety. A police department should be pursuing criminal behavior not fucking around with policy while drug dealers, rapists, thieves and other sacks of shit run free.

    Catching criminals is what the public expects from a police department. It’s not a slam dunk, just the expectation. When the primary concern of your police department is petty theft and policy enforcement the job isn’t getting done and criminals start thinking they’re smart because they’re not getting caught.

  5. popo39machine says:

    You go with what you know and what you are capable of dealing with. We have more experience on the bottom tier of this department than the top. Look at the community college police model. Their leadership, officers have a considerable amount of police experience prior to taking positions at the college.

    For the most part our chain of command never dealt with a police experience outside of what typically happens at ASU. Most of the officers are green, only used to college issues. When “real” crime comes here there’s a panic, knee jerking, and it’s not nipped, it’s encouraged from the no staffing, inexperienced, half assed response.

    This is why our department is so concerned about bike thefts, about policy, not policing, it’s what we know and we never say no to absurd requests. The chiefs, commanders say yes, yes, yes, and figure out how later. Staffing is like this blog. It’s not a problem if you put your smile on and ignore it. That worked until everyone tuned in and ignored them as usual.

  6. Aotimes4 says:

    I would hate to be in that position. In reality, as far as the smoking issue is concerned, there isn’t dick you can do. And I am relieved to see that you guys have a problem with being utilized in that manner.

    Honestly what does concern me is the fact that ASU has students enforcing the no smoking policy. I have seen a couple of instances where a student would ask another student for id or their name to report a violation. As you can imagine, that exchange never goes well. It astounds me that the university would take a “peer enforcement” approach, yet not stress that they should do so in a way that does not cause conflict, or advise people to not push the issue. It’s a matter of time before a student catches a fist to the face when they irritate a smoker. I can only assume there will be some liability on the part of the university.

    • WheresMy907 says:

      It screams liability, the same liability they are used to managing with a check book. The university is used to cutting checks with tax payer money to make little liability issues go away and stay out of the media.

      It would probably go something like this, “Sorry you were punched in the face Aoshok, here’s $20, 000 USD, the equivalent of three villages in your homeland, have a nice day.

  7. WheresMy907 says:

    I tend to think the plan is idiot sevant genius. Get your police uniforms into the areas trafficked by the most students to enforce a silly policy and make it look like the department is doing something.

    It’s all about the image of doing something, appearing visible instead of going to the areas where people, witnesses are scarce, and where criminals like to work. We will be responding to a BS smoker call or similar garbage while someone is getting mugged on the edges of campus in some dark corner. The smoker enforcement will get attention and the mugging will be left out of the media.

  8. ComeOnNow says:

    Another university just had to pay out $50,000 after enforcing a university policy regarding freedom of speech (guy handing out copies of the constitution). Hopefully our officers are smart enough (if they are ordered to deal with the smoking issue) to treat it like a consensual contact, even if the person refuses in order to minimize liability. The problem is it undermines our authority.

  9. jpcode11 says:

    Another bad idea that was knee jerked into action, like the wheel zone. I don’t like smoke from people smoking but treating it like a bunch of red commies “peer” enforcing the rules of the collective isn’t very red, white, and blue.

  10. getitright says:

    Any sideline distraction to appear to be doing something because we can’t really make an impact in what matters.

  11. Justanotherdispensible50 says:

    If you you don’t have the staffing, training, and programs in place to deal with the criminals you can deal with the policy violators and undermine the authority, but more importantly the effectiveness of the police department hobbled from the top down to do it’s sworn duty.

  12. DL500unit says:

    How about creating an initiative to fight criminal activity with a police department that can’t retain officers? How about that? Maybe it can be peer based, students talking with criminals about not victimizing them. I’m sure that will work.

  13. FlamingPileMallcoppery says:

    Another diversion from what a real police department is supposed to do, catch criminals.

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