Recently, the head of ASU’s HR (Kevin Salcido) sent a very strongly worded email to all ASUPD employees in an attempt to dissuade people from posting on The Integrity Report. We assembled a carefully crafted letter where we discussed the legal issues Salcido brought up in his email, as well our take on the entire ASUPD/HR situation. However, our response was later eclipsed by another ASU employee who voiced HIS concerns in a formal email, addressed to PD-ALL with a CC to CFO Morgan Olsen and President Michael Crow.
Sir, thank you for having the courage to send the most epic email chain in the history of ASUPD; you are deserving of a “Lifetime Achievement” Sun Award, at a minimum! We wouldn’t be surprised if the Chief is scrambling behind the scenes, contacting legal council to see how the sender of the email could be reprimanded. This email perfectly addressed how ASU HR had reason to know about the issues occurring at ASUPD, but failed to take any corrective action at all.
Speaking of nonfeasance, we have heard whispers ASUPD Command Staff has requested a possible investigation of The Integrity Report by DPS. Allegedly, citing violations of a few broad ARS statutes, DPS has been tasked to investigate the blog’s release of a picture of Sgt. Pam Osborne and her personally owned vehicle. After months of emails, meetings, and phone calls to Command Staff/ASU HR about problems in the department, none of the issues (which have been discussed at length on The Integrity Report) apparently meet the threshold for an HR INVESTIGATION. However, after Salcido inappropriately applies ARS , somehow the threshold for a CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION is met? This is nothing more than a formalized witch hunt to attempt to stop people from posting on the blog, after an attempt to discover the blog creators via ASU’s IT department were unsuccessful.
Mr. Salcido, Chief Pickens, and ASUPD Command Staff: You are dangerously close to stifling the 1st Amendment rights of your employees.
- 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.
Additionally, you assume the creators of the blog are ASUPD employees, which is why you are citing ARS statutes aimed at persons who are “employed by a state or local governmental entity”. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that we are students, or members of the press, or people unaffiliated with the university in any capacity. Would you still be so eager to instigate a criminal complaint, and in the process, violating the 1st Amendment rights of the general public? Didn’t think so.