Is this the beginning of the end for ASUPD Command Staff? McD’s is still hiring.
Earlier today, ASUPD Chief Pickens sent out a bizarre email to the entire PD:
From: John Pickens (Chief of Police)
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:54 AM
Subject: New Opportunity
I wanted to make you aware of this before it is announced sometime this afternoon.
Arizona State University Chief of Police John Pickens is pursuing a new opportunity after 14 years of service. Chief Pickens initially was hired as the Director/Chief of Police for the Department of Public Safety, Tempe Campus, after serving as Director of Public Safety at Northern Illinois University.
“I have given much thought to what I would like to accomplish during the next phase of my life,” Pickens said. “After 14 years of service, it is time to pass the baton to someone else. It has been an honor to serve as the Chief of Police at ASU.”
Pickens will continue to serve as ASU Police Chief while a national search is completed and until his successor is on board, noted Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s Executive Vice President, Treasurer and CFO. He then will assume his new duties as Executive Director, University Security Initiatives. Pickens’ duties in this new role will include overseeing expansion of the university’s video security system and other emerging public safety technologies, assisting the Office of Emergency Preparedness in ensuring that ASU is positioned for effective emergency response and recovery, and leading security planning for the Sun Devil Stadium project.
John L. Pickens
Chief of Police
Arizona State University
This email was clearly crafted by someone in ASU’s PR department, as the email is much more articulate than Pickens’ normal emails. Also, the entire email is written in third person! Either Pickens is a member of British royalty, or someone wrote the email on his behalf (we are speculating it is the latter).
Later on, the university made an “official” announcement via a digital press release. The press released detailed all of of Pickens’ vast “accomplishments” in his 14 year tenure which are pathetic and exaggerated, at best:
• All marked police vehicles have been equipped with in-car video recording systems and enhanced communications. Upgrading the vehicles to a standard nearly every other major police department across the country merits kudos for Pickens? The CIVILIANS who work on maintaining and upgrading the vehicles are the ones deserving of credit, NOT Pickens.
• Expansion of the community-based policing program by establishing internal and external partnerships and a team-building philosophy to promote higher levels of service to the university community. ASUPD’s Command Staff has VERY strained relationships with the surrounding police agencies, namely Tempe PD. TPD is forced to deal with problems that ASUPD won’t because of poor staffing. Internally, ASUPD has very few positive partnerships with members of the student population; after all, why would students be willing to trust the PD when the Command Staff has turned a blind eye to properly investigating and reporting sexual assaults?
• Establishment of the Chief’s Advisory Board to enhance communication and problem solving within the department. This is a complete lie! The Chief’s Advisory Board was resurrected in September 2013 after being defunct for approximately five years. The board came back into existence coincidentally around the time departmental discord (in the form of indeed.com and The Integrity Report) began going public. After we posted some Advisory Board meeting minutes, the Chief forbid anyone from having any hard copy notes or meeting minutes. None of the board’s suggestions were adopted, and the board met a total of three times before going defunct, again.
• Reorganization of the university’s police functions to consolidate the West, Polytechnic and Tempe campus police departments under his leadership, in accordance with the “One University in Many Places” philosophy. This amounted to changing the names of the West and Poly campus departments, and assigning a Commander to each respective campus. However, this is pointless because the Commanders at the satellite campuses are rarely there, and are usually at Tempe campus in meetings.
• The 2006 implementation of law enforcement and security services at the newly-formed ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, using a new model designed specifically to meet the unique nature of that campus. The “new model” of the campus is to assign only civilian employees to patrol it, and leave the majority of actual police work to Phoenix PD.
• Expansion of the police aide ranks, which often are used as a recruitment pool for ASU Police officers. (ASU Police officers who then leave abruptly as soon as they are able.)
• Aggressive pursuit of grants that allowed upgrading the 9-1-1 system to include police vehicle laptops and implementation of the Live-Scan fingerprint system. Other people wrote these grants, so the Chief should not take credit for it.
• Development of a new, state-of-the-art police facility on the Tempe campus, including a sophisticated Emergency Operations Center. ASUPD had an extra room in its brand new facility, so they spent a lot of money on equipment to convert it into an EOC. It has never been used.
• Four successful reaccreditations through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, including the department’s 2008 reaccreditation as a “Flagship Agency.” Pickens had Blythe do all the work of fixing ASUPD enough for it to be accredited by CALEA; Pickens doesn’t deserve any credit. Furthermore, we would be surprised if ASUPD gets accredited by CALEA this year, given the current situation in the department.
• Reduction of the department’s carbon footprint by adding hybrid vehicles, Segways and three-wheeled motorcycles for patrolling ASU campuses. Pickens spent money to purchase hybrid vehicles that are terrible, Segways that mostly Police Aides use, and a few three wheeled motorcycles. Since when is spending money an accomplishment?
• Legislative testimony successfully supporting the university’s ban of firearms on its campuses. Pickens’ testimony wasn’t the final nail in the coffin that upheld the university’s ban on firearms on campus, so this statement seems misleading.
Also according to the press release, Pickens will assume his new duties as “executive director of University Security Initiatives” once his replacement is settled into the PD. This new “position” Pickens is transitioning to did not exist prior to today. There was no job posting for the role of “executive director of University Security Initiatives”, nor were there any other candidates. Pickens has been very verbal about his unwillingness to leave the PD, telling multiple employees that he would “die in his chair or be dragged out”. Seeing as how he is very much alive, our deductive reasoning skills tell us that Pickens was ousted out of his position as Police Chief and, in exchange, given a cushy six-figure position that was made up specifically for him.
However, the question of “why now?” still has yet to be discovered. Perhaps ASU wants a Chief that will stop publicly embarrassing them, or wants to geniuenly solve the current staffing and moral crisis at ASUPD. Whatever the reason, removing Chief Pickens is a baby step in the right direction, and a sign that the house of cards may start falling soon.
Some made up BS position that we, the taxpayers, will be paying for.
Oh, well, at least they won’t have far to go when they arrest him!
As more official information on how he ran the department gets revealed retaining Pickens will only serve to further embarrass Morgan Olsen and Michael Crow. There is information that has yet to come to light that will show he is unretainable. They really should watch over the department more closely.
As far as his resignation letter goes it’s completely obvious it was crafted for him. This was not a consensual change. The man can’t even converse with his troops, utilize technology, and they are going to give him a leadership job in technology? What is that about?
With Pickens gone and replaced with someone from the outside it can only be a win win. The legacy of Pickens Era are too many chiefs, not enough Indians, no standards of ethics for command or their friends, failing to supervise subordinates, indecisiveness, out of touch, indifference, and I could go on and on.
They need to pick someone with a track record of successful leadership, not another empty headed let them eat cake type who gives himself and friends enormous raises during economic shortfalls. The present command needs to be terminated and replaced by outsiders who have no connection to the dirty insider politics that have done so much damage to the department.
They need to all be thrown out with the trash! You can’t remove part of the cancer and leave the rest to continue undermining the department and the community to play their reindeer games. This was the consensus among the troops with over a year on upon hearing this announcement.
The chief never would have left on his own and the university administration would make up the joke of a six figure job to purchase their way out of the embarrassment of having to admit “the Blog” was right. The title sounds like a part-time consulting job for someone that knows the technology and everyone knows that isn’t John L Pickens.
More state sponsored welfare. No matter what took place under John Pickens’s command they go ahead and invent some unnecessary job title for him and keep him on the government gravy train? This post is entirely on the money.
Ok…he’s gone, then what? No matter how good the new chief is you are going to stick him with the remaining left overs of Pickens’s dunce cap command? That’s a recipe for failure. Only two of the six have any outside ASUPD experience and respect in this department.
If you seriously want this department to change and grow for the better half step measures won’t get us there.
The title of the article, “ASU police chief pursues new opportunity after 14 years of service”, is misleading. A more appropriate title would be, “ASU police chief is being recycled after 14 years of mismanagement, corruption, and good old boy games that drove away talent and slammed the ASU Police department into a wall making it the laughing stock of AZ law enforcement” Thank god he’s going to be gone, hopefully his replacement is better. John P set the bar pretty low.
It’s all true. I can’t see how this department can be managed any worse. Getting past this era will help save lives.
ASUPD Chief John L Pickens will be gone at last! This is good news for the safety of everyone working at the ASU police department, the ASU community, Tempe PD, the public, but not good for the fools he protected.
Nobody can get too excited; this event is far from being enough to fix the leadership issues within the Arizona State University Police Department, that’s obvious. This is a step in the right direction.
It was pointed out that the strangely phrased exiting announcements switched from 1st and 3rd person perspectives. The truth is that Chief Pickens is being kicked out of his job as chief and the administrators of the Arizona State University made up a new, lengthy titled job for him in order for everyone to save face and not look like they are caving into the pressure of the Integrity Report on the ASU Police Department, increased media attention, and the sobering reality “the Blog” is right. This is a party school; the delayed response time is expected.
The new made up job title is, “Executive Director, University Security Initiatives” According to the ad hoc internal message sent to ASUPD employees,
“Pickens’ duties in this new role will include overseeing expansion of the university’s video security system and other emerging public safety technologies, assisting the Office of Emergency Preparedness in ensuring that ASU is positioned for effective emergency response and recovery, and leading security planning for the Sun Devil Stadium project.”
First I would like to stress that camera’s don’t catch suspects unless police officers already know their names. We tell this to every silly victim who exclaims,”There’s a camera!” expecting us to catch a suspect with footage. You want to catch suspects? Hire police officers and stop wasting tax payer money on tech gimmicks that give a false sense of security, that break needing continual maintenance, and take money from more pressing security issues!
The creation of a new job title and Chief Pickens’s automatic appointment to it is a problematic issue. As a taxpayer don’t you find it very concerning that an employee who should be let go for non-performance is now gifted a new job and title that the public wasn’t allowed to bid on and compete for? I do. What’s that about?
You are about to do a “national search” for a new six figure salary police chief, so why not do one for this six figure salary senior position as well? It’s not in the interests of a public university to engage in behind the scenes cronyism, that’s what created the problems at ASUPD in the first place!
Given the title and duties quoted here, “Pickens’ duties in this new role will include overseeing expansion of the university’s video security system and other emerging public safety technologies, assisting the Office of Emergency Preparedness in ensuring that ASU is positioned for effective emergency response and recovery, and leading security planning for the Sun Devil Stadium project.”
From this spur of the moment fluff it looks like the chief’s new position will be more like a temp job hanging out with his buddy Alan Clark, directing others to set up technology he knows nothing about and getting paid far more than he’s worth. Sounds like government waste at its finest. How many more students will have to get a fee increase to pay for it?
The article for the public to view (https://asunews.asu.edu/20140610-asu-police-chief-john-pickens) takes a different approach, at one point being bold enough to list phony accomplishments by the chief.
They are stated as,
“Among the accomplishments achieved during Pickens’ tenure as ASU police chief are the following:
• All marked police vehicles have been equipped with in-car video recording systems and enhanced communications. (Did Pickens really do this? No. It’s called spending money upgrading and it’s normal.)
• Expansion of the community-based policing program by establishing internal and external partnerships and a team-building philosophy to promote higher levels of service to the university community. (No, this is made up generalized fluff that sounds warm and fuzzy but means nothing because we don’t have enough staff for effective community policing. I get it you have to roll of cozy feel good phrases thinking you’re clever.)
• Establishment of the Chief’s Advisory Board to enhance communication and problem solving within the department. (Lasted three meetings before the chief abandoned them completely upset that anyone would say anything negative. Ditto with what the blog said on this!)
• Reorganization of the university’s police functions to consolidate the West, Polytechnic and Tempe campus police departments under his leadership, in accordance with the “One University in Many Places” philosophy. (More meaningless fluff. Campus commanders are rarely at their assigned campuses, instead they are in Tempe having meetings nonstop.)
• The 2006 implementation of law enforcement and security services at the newly-formed ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, using a new model designed specifically to meet the unique nature of that campus. (You sent people downtown…You have housed this nearly all police aide only staff in random offices that change every few years. Is this the new model? Transient policing?)
• Expansion of the police aide ranks, which often are used as a recruitment pool for ASU Police officers. (ASU Police officers, especially former police aides, take off ASAP, so big win there chief.)
• Aggressive pursuit of grants that allowed upgrading the 9-1-1 system to include police vehicle laptops and implementation of the Live-Scan fingerprint system. (Again taking full credit for the work of subordinates. In academic circles that’s caused plagiarism, look it up. So we fund a nearly 100k commander to write a 50K grant.)
• Development of a new, state-of-the-art police facility on the Tempe campus, including a sophisticated Emergency Operations Center. (You had someone build a building with a center that keeps getting upgraded and never used for an emergency that will never happen.)
• Four successful reaccreditations through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, including the department’s 2008 reaccreditation as a “Flagship Agency.” (Flagship for whom? Did you mention how they couldn’t account for large sums of money, but we received accreditation anyway?)
• Reduction of the department’s carbon footprint by adding hybrid vehicles, Segways and three-wheeled motorcycles for patrolling ASU campuses. (So you went green by buying things.)
• Legislative testimony successfully supporting the university’s ban of firearms on its campuses. (Pickens can’t even speak at divisional meetings without losing his cool and bursting into flames, so I’m not buying this crap. You have an argument against the 2nd amendment just like you have an argument with the 1st and tried to suppress this blog.)
In summary, in 14 years as Chief of Police for ASU John Pickens bought a lot of police related stuff, delegated people to work on projects he’s taking credit for, and failed to make any dent in the already low staffing of ASUPD.
In fact as the University doubled the police department shrank as talent fled the toxic environment created by Pickens’s pet cronies and they soon found a home at any agency that would take them.
Are those the people Salcido is saying we won’t miss? He should say he won’t miss. They are missed by the people who work the street, not the people sitting on their ass in an office degrading the people who protect them.
Making another high priced employee line for “the Office of Emergency Preparedness” sounds like another horrible tax and spend strategy of fiscal unsustainability. If you have an emergency it will be police and fire showing up, not these guys in khakis, dress shirts, who can’t run more than 5 feet out of breath.
Forcing Pickens out of ASUPD is a move in the right direction, but it simply is not enough to make a serious difference when it comes to the internal leadership issues of the ASU police department. Pickens has done nearly irreparable damage to the ability of ASUPD to function due to his appointments of unqualified assistant chiefs, Hardina especially. The commanders, MINUS Lou Digirolamo and former commander Kevin Williams, are good examples of what’s wrong with ASUPD and should be replaced as soon as possible by the new chief. They are on contract, hit the plunger.
To be fair there were good leaders! Former commander Kevin Williams and assistant chief Rich Wilson were good leaders, but those are few and far in between at ASUPD. Williams left shaking his head over ASUPD to become chief of police for Central Michigan University.
You need people with ethical track records that can be trusted and the remaining command staff of ASUPD are bottom rung candidates that wouldn’t survive being officers elsewhere.
They were raised through the ranks by Pickens and their malice and deceit had a home under him. They collectively have been undermining the success of the department for years, hindering its growth and driving away talent, because this has become their social club. The bullying, the IA’s, the immorality, and the negative reinforcement will continue until these entities are no longer there or raising a new cadre of like-minded monkey see monkey do leadership failure.
I would advise those responsible for picking the successor to chief Pickens to make sure you have qualified and proven police leadership on the oral boards. Get with subject experts to vet the candidates and choose carefully. What’s more important than the safety of the ASU community? Nothing is.
As it stands ASUPD is a basic instruction school to prep officers for city agencies, we hire 1 and lose 1, 2, 3. Thanks for taking the high road on one issue, firing our deadbeat do nothing chief, and good luck fixing this agency! We will be here, there, and everywhere to chart success and failure with great interest. Those with the power to make the necessary terminations at ASUPD should keep going down the line or nothing will change.
We have a both have a duty to defend this community and look out for its best interests, something Pickens and most of his ASUPD schooled command lost sight of years ago. Under a new house of competent leadership maybe we can get back on track.
Your assessment is outstanding. The department was on a slow descent to the ground that turned into a nose dive as the university began to grow and members of the clique made it into command. Hopefully pink slips at that level will help us rebuild the department and come back strong.
I love it, good job reading through all the garbage. Their spin job has spun to the ground face down and everyone knows it. Cue the canned laughter on this whole thing.
Step in the right direction? Definitely. In order for the department to get fully back on track, all of the command staff need to be shit canned. Every single one of those people have been engaged in immoral/unethical/unprofessional behavior, or have decided to do nothing when issues were presented to them. Unlike Pickens, the university doesn’t have to coddle them with providing them with cushy replacement positions.
They are ALL part of the problem, and if they were smart, they’d see the writing on the wall.
Pam is another one that needs to go too, although myself and everyone else in the department feels like her number is about to be called. How does it feel like to have the tables turned on you all? Welcome to the hell the rest of us have been working in for years.
I would like to see them all try and make it elsewhere. No chance. They would be as useless there as they are here only there they would have to work and be held accountable.
Pickens has been a lame duck chief with a 14 year shit record where the highlights are spending money. I’m surprised he hasn’t taken credit for designing the building. Of course it wasn’t written by him like everything else. It lists James Hardina’s name for more questions. He’s probably the spin doctor writing this nonsense.
I read it and wondered if it was proof read by anyone or if Hardina just said good and didn’t run it by PR. Such a joke, just like his new faux save face job title. Maybe it is time to right a summary report and approach the governor about everything.
About damn time. You know your departure is long overdue when your entire department is happy you’re leaving. Now if Pickens could only take the rest of the idiots with him..
Everyone is excited about him leaving and even more excited over the potential possibility the rest of command may going as well. It’s normal for a new chief to want to pick his own command and the new chief will want to pick people who can get the job done.
When you take out the trash you take it all. With the track record and bitter resentment caused by this entire leadership any new chief would be out of their mind to keep them and their liability.
Just the first step in our collective efforts to weed out the incompetence and corruption within the ASUPD.
Should be interesting to see how this unfolds over the next several months.
Commander William Orr, McDonald’s is hiring and your general educational development diploma is all that is needed to get you in the door.
Maybe you will learn some valuable lessons, like being a team player and actually working for a living. After all, you deserve a break today.
Well they need to move fast to and a handle on the situation before the new school year starts in the fall. It’s obvious to the kids our Swiss cheese patrol routine has no teeth. One X factory was found, what’s next a meth lab?
The word from Tempe says they are getting tired of cleaning up ASU situations. With three more high rise dorms being built in their beat, that they will have to field the calls for, I don’t blame them. To be fair they’re collecting the tax dollars, fines, so it’s all there’s.
Hopefully we get a new command equipped for the daunting task at hand. God Bless.
Maybe the new chief will be able to figure out how to deal with the command Pickens is leaving in his wake. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they enable problems within the department preventing normal people from wanting to stick around. Pickens did nothing about them and I’m glad he’s leaving. I have to admit I didn’t really know how deep this feeling was until I witnessed the reactions to the news. Wow.
This institutional welfare is a joke. Did he threaten to make it a race issue if they terminated him? How in the hell did he broker this deal where he gets a top tier job with no application process, no opportunity to find other qualified candidates? They think they are saving face, while they are creating another situation to lose it. More tax and spend, spend, spend who cares it’s not my money agenda. The media needs to get ahold of this and investigate.
It high time to take fix this broken department and it all starts with Pickens, he gone! The rest of command should follow. It’s time to jump start this police department and get back on the road! The new chief needs to make it happen.
They don’t want to fire him and admit any sort of fault. Any acceptance of responsibility is perceived as liability. Plus they probably have him on some of his contract so they are going to try and get something out of him otherwise it’s free money.
The ASU PD leadership is in a moribund state and they’re desperately trying to hold on to power.
The dynamics have already been set in motion to rid the ASU PD of the toxic leadership.
First order of business when the new chief comes on board: Fire the entire command staff!
If anyone is wondering why Pam hasn’t been seen in Tempe for awhile there’s a good reason. Other than not paying for parking while everyone else has to and getting put on blast for it she is lying low at the polytech campus hiding out in her husband’s office on the computer, hurt hand whatever.
She is friends with Commander Lou Schicilone, Orr, and Speranza so she gets to do whatever she wants as usual with no expectations. She has an allergy to doing work, so maybe the role if office troll is a good choice.
Go figure, her mentors providing her refuge.
It is appalling what shit Pam can get away with. She worked so hard to injure other people only her tiny circle of friends have any pity for her.
Her lazy useless state welfare do nothing productive and get highly paid for it routine needs to cone to an end. She attacks others under the guise of a supervisor so attention doesn’t come her way and command doesn’t realize how much of a disaster she is.
She has done more to lower morale and damage the future of ASUPD than any supervisor below commander. Now that’s something to be proud of!
Everyone hopes so. It is the only way to get this place to grow and get back on track. They have tried and tried only to fail again and again. People simply won’t stay working under a network of unethical, petty, reactionary, and incompetent assholes. Pickens, his command, and select Sergeants make this a never ending reality for the troops at ASUPD.
From what I have gathered the chief is leaving this job for another position at the university. Was this new job position ever posted for other applicants? Is there or was there at any time a posting of minimum qualifications, desired qualifications, salary, contract details, or any other information? Any information you have will be appreciated. I will be using other avenues to look into this.
To the best of our knowledge there was no public opportunity for applying to this job. It appears to be another insider deal at the expense of tax payer monies.
It appears they finally realized Pickens needed to go, but wanted to save face and find another way to do it. Pickens is only one part of the greater problem.
“And whether the university’s leadership realizes this or not, they will eventually be forced to make the needed changes within the ASU PD, either through continued public exposure of taxpayer funded mismanagement and maltreatment of current and former employees or through an inevitable intervention by an outside entity with vastly more resources at its disposal than a public university.” Embudo
Your are right. It’s strange how you have a profession of professed higher morals, standards, but some of the most inadequate, double standard, hypocritical, and unethical scumbags make it in.
Quite frankly ASU police sorely lacks the dangerous calls and crime of city agencies that are necessary to make the department work as a team. You have a clique in power who are not just bad for morale, they are bad for the business of police work. Even at our department this is quite a departure from a typical 9-5 job.
I received a phone call that Pam Osborne is back out in front of the department, illegally parked again. What dirt does she have on these guys that makes her so special? Our present command can’t even tackle this easy ethical issue. Everyone knows she gets the special priveledge because her best friends, Orr, Speranza, and Schicabon bon are commanders at the department.
Years of little ethical issues like this and serious ones have snowballed at ASUPD because of these people. They forced morale in the shitter and kept it there. They broke their oaths, compromised our purpose and the safety of the community, and shamed us all in the process.
yurhuckleberry, also received word that Pam Osborne was parking her POV illegally on Apache Blvd., again. Obviously the woman feels entitled to continue to break the law.
What she and others in the command staff fail to realize, is their days of operating with impunity, being held accountable to no one, is fast coming to an end.
A sage would realize this and prepare for the inevitable, however, these individuals’ sense of entitlement has blinded them.
The university’s decision to “reluctantly” remove Chief Pickens from the ASU PD is the first symbolic movement in ridding the ASU PD of the remainder of the toxic leadership.
Patience is a virtue that needs to be understood and embraced during the “transitional resistance period.”
They just all need to go. Everyone knows the remaining command is just as dirty guilty for the state if the department as the chief they just pried off the controls.
HAHAHAH omg that’s awesome! This doesn’t surprise me at all. I remember seeing a req for thousands of dollars for Honey Bears BBQ when you were able to get into that folder, if he likes it so much he could work there.
[…] Juky 11th. This is a complete 180 from the email sent to all ASUPD employees barely a month ago, which stated that Pickens would remain in his position until his successor was hired. Pickens’ “leave” was probably forced upon him by the university who will most […]