ASU desperately wants people to view the PD as “legitimate”

Legitimacy training

It’s no secret that the Arizona State University Police Department has been pummeled by the media as of late.

Media outlets, such as The Arizona Republic, have publicly dissected several problems which have plagued ASUPD for years–staffing, and morale, to name a few. In turn, this has raised many questions about ASUPD’s legitimacy as a fully functioning police department in the eyes of both university employees and the public .

In a typical university knee-jerk reaction, ASU created mandatory training for all PD employees to address these issues of “legitimacy”. This “‘training” was comprised of two 4 hour sessions for the whole department, and was done by university employees with no PD affiliation or experience.

The presenters discussed generalized issues such as being nice to the public, community policing, and the unique environment of university policing. The presenters, however, failed to explain why ASUPD has lost legitimacy with its own employees/staff/public, and also how to fix the problems at hand. Many employees sensed this obvious gap in logic and voiced their concerns to the staff conducting the training, only to be met with blank stares. Evidently, the university did not anticipate any type of backlash.

What the university fails to fully understand is that the legitimacy issue is NOT caused by ground-level employees; it stems from a lack of quality people in leadership positions within the department. If you fail to employ a command structure that has accountability, ethics, and common sense, you have nothing more than a state funded gang using and abusing employees on a whim. Normal people cannot stomach working in this type of dysfunctional environment for an extended period of time, so the employee turnover rate and new employee hiring rate continue to skyrocket in tandem.

Poor leadership is obviously one contributor to ASUPD’s legitimacy problem, but not the main cause. What are other recent factors/events that have eroded ASUPD’s legitimacy as a fully functioning police department?

  • Free Speech:
    • For years, there has been a lot of preferential treatment and problem employees within ASUPD that Command Staff simply refused to address or deal with. Several employees became frustrated at the lack of outlet they had to voice their concerns, so they created a blog for anonymous online discussion called The Integrity Report. This discussion involved the posting of emails, memorandums, and policy manuals (which are all accessible to the public via a Freedom of Information Act request, or FOIA). Airing ASU’s dirty laundry caused administrators for the department and university to panic and attempt to shut down the postings as well as The Integrity Report, citing “safety and security issues”. (It is quite ironic that in its quest to shut down and discredit The Integrity Report, ASU has actually further damaged its legitimacy as a law enforcement/academic institution, instead of preserving it.)
  • Having a convenient scapegoat:
    • When the public was enraged at the situation involving Assistant Professor Ursula Ore and Officer Stuart Ferrin, ASU needed a someone to blame so it could distance itself from the problem and maintain its legitimacy. Both Chief Pickens and Officer Ferrin took the brunt of the public lashing, with Chief Pickens resigning shortly after the Ore debacle.
  • Media exposure:
    • It is impossible for a department to maintain its validity when the media starts investigating and contradicting all of the department’s logic with hard facts and documentation (see the September 21st, 2014 edition of The Arizona Republic for an example). Even worse, the university attempted to redact information released to The Arizona Republic under the guise of “embarrassment”. The extensive media coverage of ASUPD’s repeated missteps has caused nearly irreparable damage to the department’s credibility as a law enforcement agency.
  • Repeatedly failing to acknowledge and address problems:
    • ASUPD still refuses to acknowledge any wronging on its behalf throughout the past year and a half of its public exposure. This would include admitting to staffing problems, cliques, and refusing to deal with problem employees, among other things. Admitting fault does not make the department look weak; it shows the department had enough insight to fix the issue and move forward. On the other hand, failing to acknowledge the 1000-pound elephant in the room does not make the department appear “composed”, it makes the department look like jackasses. Furthermore, when the department fails to acknowledge and address ANY problems, it makes the department appear out of touch and calls into question the legitimacy of its actions.

The “legitimacy” training did not even come close to discussing the above mention issues as possible reasons why the public does not view ASUPD as a “legitimate” law enforcement agency. The training was given by people working in civilian positions with no police department experience in any capacity, and who offered no actual plan on how to create legitimacy for the ASU Police Department. They should  have titled the training, “Please believe in the future! The university is in explosive growth, and we don’t know what we are doing!”

ASU, since you are unable or unwilling to fix ASUPD’s  problems internally, we will do it for you with continued exposure and public pressure. It won’t be pretty.

As always, stand by folks.


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26 thoughts on “ASU desperately wants people to view the PD as “legitimate”

  1. Embudo says:

    We have brand-new seasoned veterans, many whom are retirees from other police agencies with a wealth of experience in law enforcement operations, who are already detecting many internal problems within the ASU PD and university.

    These veterans are also realizing the sheer incompetence of many supervisors, as well as command staff, that were hand-picked by the former chief, John Pickens, who was unceremoniously removed from command in July 2014, by ASU administrators.

    Until someone, at the university level, fully addresses and engages in making the much-needed changes within the ASU PD and its command, we will continue to expose, with regularity via media outlets, the many internal problems within the ASU PD and university.

    Again, if ASU administrators refuse to acknowledge and assist the men and women in fixing the many internal problems within the ASU PD, we will continue to expose to the world, via media outlets, how the ASU PD maliciously and recklessly operates with the tacit approval of ASU administrators.

    ASU administrators: Dr. Michael M. Crow, president of ASU; Dr. Morgan R. Olsen, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of ASU; and Kevin Salcido, Associate Vice President and Chief HR Officer in the Office of Human Resources at ASU.

    ASU PD command staff: acting Chief Michael Thompson, acting Assistant Chief Michele Rourke, Commander William Orr, Commander Lou Scichilone, and Commander Chris Speranza.

    • DL500unit says:

      You are right on the money. Excuses, meetings, and so called training sessions are not going to fix this department and make the campus safer. By the time this administration gets it, it will be too late.

      The damage Pickens and the command he left in his wake are empty headed yes men unable and unwilling to address department issues they themselves created.

  2. Getitright says:

    The song remains the same. If they wanted to understand what was going on in the department they would have asked. Instead they want to talk to us about the department’s legitimacy without discussing the key issues that led to it’s loss of legitimacy over the years. You don’t use eye droppers to bail the water out of a sinking ship, you need buckets. More half-step measures to nowhere.

    • popo39machine says:

      Four hours of vagueness that left a lot of people wondering why they were there. The people who treat the public like shit never attend. When is Khalid and Aston going to this?

  3. RUkiddingMe says:

    These guys have no clue about the problems because they refuse to acknowledge any exist. I don’t care what lies our command is busy telling the university administration, these police department issues don’t exist in a vacuum, they have names attached to them, and they didn’t happen over night.

  4. WheresMy907 says:

    If you have this training seeking a meaningful dialogue with what’s left of this agency then maybe the meetings are productive. I say maybe because the meetings may convince the university of the root cause of department problems. You need a solid new foundation on which to build for the future. We simply can’t do that with the leftover box of misfit toys the former chief left in charge.

    The problem isn’t the 100’s and 100’s of employees who have come and gone, it’s the few people who stayed, promoted beyond their abilities, and gave 100’s of law enforcement professionals every reason to leave for the last 14 years.

  5. popo39machine says:

    The legitimacy of this police department starts when we have leadership who earned legitimacy in law enforcement by conducting themselves ethically.

    Former chief Pickens ignored ethics, did what he wanted, and it shows by what he left behind at his former command before coming to ASU. It shows by what he left behind at ASUPD after he was ousted. The FBI kicked the doors in there and with no apparent vetting process he gets hired by Crow to mismanage ASUPD for 14 years.

    Due to issues resulting from inadequate supervision the FBI came to ASU to visit another Pickens mess. Pickens is gone, but the mess remains along with a lack of legitimacy. The damage is done, the problem people are still here, and nothing about the department has changed.
    When I found out Sgt Pam Osborne has a role in picking who comes into this agency, spends her day hanging out with her husband collectively taking home 140k+ it made it clear nothing has changed. What about legitimacy within your own department?!? Far from it.

    New people are great to have, but look at the rate of turnover we’ve had. Our staffing has been what it is for years, so I’m not impressed to hear we have new people. There is nothing new about new people on the first floor and that has everything to do with who is managing the second and third floor. We are still waiting for some form of legitimacy within the department, it starts here first.

    Look at how many citizen complaints we have against officers, look at how many internal affairs investigations have been launched at officers from within this agency, look at who initiates them. Compare these numbers to other agencies. Look at how employees receive significantly different levels of discipline.

    This is an old negative morale issue, but just one of the many reasons our department has lost legitimacy with so many current and former employees. The troops of this police department don’t trust their current leadership and they never will, trust is everything in this business. Your comparison of them to a gang is perfect.

    • ThySummons says:

      Sgt. Pam Osborne vetting who is chosen to be a member of the department makes this poster nauseous. She was instrumental in destroying a lot of good and decent peoples’ lives over the years while the FTO coordinator. That is one of the reasons she was permanently removed as FTO coordinator. Sgt. Osborne should NOT have anything to do with the vetting process!

      When you can approve you and your husband’s time off requests or your own sick time, via ScheduleAnywhere, with the apparent approval of your bosses, there is something deeply wrong with the system. What healthy and normal functioning organization would sanction or allow this type of empowerment? Everybody has a boss and that boss needs to be approving that employee’s time off request–NOT the employee. This is the kind of stuff that leads to corruption, etc. This needs to stop, acting Chief Michael Thompson!

      Clearly the preferential treatment Sgt. Osborne receives after allegations of horrific interactions with current and former employees in the department will have to be investigated by an outside entity, since the department and university have ignored the allegations of horrific, if not outright illegal, transgressions over the years.

      We desperately need to begin the healing process and move the department forward in a new and healthy direction after years of mismanagement and mental abuse of employees by some current and former members in leadership and supervisory positions.

      We can only hope and pray that the new chief will address and fix the many problems that continue to plague the department, to include problem employees that continue to receive preferential treatment.

    • SPAM says:

      Glad that once again Sgt Pam Osborne’s fat lazy ass gets called out for the world to see.

      Its not enough that she is allowed to approve her and her husband’s time off, work on “light duty” doing absolute jack shit, STEAL the departments time by never working a 40 hour work week…but THIS WOMAN is hand selecting future employees? What does she have that makes her qualified to do so? College graduate, NOPE! Patrol experience, NOPE! Other applicable job experience, NOPE!!

      The only thing Sgt Osborne should be responsible for selecting is what type of outfit she should wear in her mugshot. She is a disgusting human being for all the harm she has caused to others in the department.

      You’re not fooling anyone by trying to leech off your husbands credibility…everyone in the department knows what a horrible person you are, Sgt Osborne, and can’t stand to be around you.

      Do us all a favor and quit now, you gimpy bitch.

    • fixmycorruptpd says:

      It’s all true. These reoccurring issues are the reason employees created the Integrity Report and why employees reached out to the media to reform their corrupt department.

      There is absolutely no confidence in this agency being able to police itself. Thompson put Pam in that position, so clearly business as usual is his plan of action.

    • ComeOnNow4real says:

      You don’t have shit without ethics. Pam’s name is just one of a number that come up when a lack of ethics is concerned. Our average arrestee is more forthcoming and trustworthy. The idea if her having any role in meeting, let alone choosing new employees is frightening.

    • Quick call Tempe! says:

      The “gang”, “clique”, or whatever derogatory term they have earned lately are a gang who recognize only their members and operate outside the social norms, the law, and do whatever they want without any regard on how it impacts their individual victims or the whole of society.

      There should be a close knit team here working together towards a single goal, instead you have these idiots destabilizing the whole process and creating a working environment distasteful to veteran and new rookie cops.

      You mentioned Pam is a problem and she certainly is one, but Pam is just one member of “the gang”. There’s also Billy Orr, Chris Speranza, Lou Schicalone, Mark Aston, Phil Osborne, Mark Janda, and Dan Guaghan. If this was a “legitimate” police department their gang within a team wouldn’t have survived.

    • OneFlewOverTheCuckoo'sPD says:

      The Arizona State University Police Department will never be a legitimate agency until the aforementioned individuals are no longer part of the police department.

      Maybe if these commanders, supervisors and employees had a semblance integrity and ethics, coupled with service before self, the department might have some legitimacy.

  6. DoneSon says:

    If any of our command staff told Morgan Olsen or Crow the truth about what has been going on with the PD they wouldn’t have jobs, plain and simple. Their liability will become too painful to ignore and very embarrassing for this university’s administration.

  7. fixmycorruptpd says:

    You can’t make this stuff up. Does the university really think the department will have any legitimacy with it’s own employees by conducting itself this way?

  8. ComeOnNow4real says:

    It says a lot when they come speaking to the police department about it’s lack of legitimacy, but don’t say anything specific about it. They talk about other police departments, vague ideas, but no specifics that have to do with this agency and the people running it.

    For the love of god, our former chief lied to our faces about raise amounts that were given university wide and they want to talk about how outsiders view the university police department.

    How about taking a look at all the employees who voted with their feet and left the agency because they had a lack of faith in the legitimacy of the people ruining…running this Arizona State University Police Department? How about that? It’s time for reality people, let’s spent 4 hours, now 8 hours talking about that. You haven’t listened to anything yet, so what is so different now?

  9. Quick call Tempe! says:

    Just a few things…

    1. Talking about the problems of other police departments isn’t the same as talking about the problems of the ASU police department.

    2. Failing to address the issues of the ASU police department is the same as ignoring them.

    3. Having civilians who have no public safety experience, who were never police officers, tell us how to run a police department is disingenuous and insulting. Would you listen to an MD with an associates degree in voodoo, if such a thing existed?

    4. Everyone in the room knows the ASU police department has many problems and that very few of them have anything to do with the people handling the everyday police calls for service. You need to look a little higher, it’s easy to blame the low man who has no voice but this blog.

    5. If you are thankful for our service and what we do words are the first step, but monetary thanks is what we bring home to our families to justify our time away from our family, the risks involved, and you have no problem overinflating those amounts for our superiors who sit at desks and in meetings all day blaming us for department issues.

  10. yurhuckleberry says:

    If the people in charge of the university are concerned about the legitimacy of their police department maybe it’s time for them to invest in their police department.

    By invest I don’t mean giving 14 million dollars to greedy self-aggrandizing fools to enrich themselves and their friends.

    Find some experts in policing and get them to assess how many command staff members we need, do we need close to 20 sergeants when can’t staff patrol shifts at most campuses with more than 1 officer, sometimes with none at all.

    With Pickens in charge of the budget for 14 years nothing adds up. At a football game it didn’t add up for a female student when she needed a safety escort. Instead of a police department professional she gets low class contract security with self-admitted background issues with women. This situation is another shameful example of a police department so mismanaged it can’t provide for basic public safety services.

    In her own words, “The people at the stadium said they couldn’t walk me, so I eventually called a safety escort line from someone else’s phone, and they said they wouldn’t come, because it was too busy,” Dingman said.
    Eventually Dingman found a man who said he worked for stadium security and could walk her to the designated shuttle, but Dingman said she became uneasy during the walk.

    “He was dressed wearing a vest and everything like ASU security but wasn’t acting like the other security people there,” she said. “He was friendly, making conversation, and then he was talking about how he had been accused of domestic violence on a couple of different instances. So I was kind of creeped out.”

    Here’s the link to the article,

  11. Twocents says:

    How about taking a look at the legitimacy of the people responsible for driving our employees away, year after year, for the 14 years Pickens has been in power?

    How about taking a look at the legitimacy of the same people who have grossly misreported crime statistics through Clery for those same years?

    The legitimacy of this police department has taken damage from the top down. Most patrol officers here put their best foot forward to do good policing while their command sells them short by populist politicking and saving their own asses at everyone’s expense.

  12. Embudo says:

    It’s disheartening that we have to keep documenting, through the blog and other outlets, the many internal problems and deficiencies within the ASU PD.

    If the ASU PD’s leadership had long ago addressed and fixed the many problems within the ASU PD, to include problem employees, The Integrity Report blog would probably not exist today, or at least with the current content and subject matter driving it.

    Our legitimacy, as a police department, started eroding 14-years ago when the ex-chief, John Pickens, was chosen by the then-university’s leadership to head the ASU PD.

    The loss of legitimacy and further erosion of the ASU PD continued over the years when the current university’s leadership failed to hold Pickens or his command staff accountable at any level for the dysfunction of the ASU PD. And this lack of oversight by the university has contributed to the current state of affairs at the ASU PD.

    The current command staff should have intervened during Pickens’ tenure to challenge him diplomatically on many fronts, including when the ASU PD was being mismanaged and some employees being poorly treated by leadership and supervisors.

    However, many in the current command staff chose to either outright ignore the mismanagement and maltreatment of some employees by leadership and supervisors, or they themselves became the problem employees and implemented their own nefarious ways of operating in alignment with Pickens’ harmful leadership and management style.

    The many internal problems within the ASU PD and university also has created less than stellar relations with other police agencies in the Valley. The inability of the ASU PD’s leadership to effectively communicate and work hand-in-hand with those agencies over the years, as a reputable and full-functioning police agency, has undermined the ASU PD’s legitimacy with those police agencies.

    The ASU PD desperately needs new integrity- and ethically-driven leadership at all levels that understand the basic fundamentals of police operations and service. The new leadership must work in concert with the university in restructuring the ASU PD to better serve the needs of an ever-growing student population.

    • ImJohnDoe says:

      Here’s the problem though….. Until Crow and his “Crownies” allow the PD to operate as a legitimate police department, change will never occur. It is very obvious that civilians, with no LE experience whatsoever, in high positions at the University, call the shots. The Chief either goes along with it or he finds himself looking for a new job.

      Remember, proactive policing generates stats, and higher crime stats can repel higher and higher enrollment. So, no real police work is allowed by the suits at the Fulton Center. Go against that philosophy and you are black balled……

    • Embudo says:

      The way that the ASU PD is structured within the university, civilians with no law enforcement experience are calling the shots. ASU PD will NEVER be allowed to operate as a full-functioning police department because of this structural flaw.

      Arizona State University is a billion-dollar-a-year-plus business and one of their focuses besides education, is growing the university year after year, and having a proactive law enforcement department could hamper that growth with increased crime statistics, etc.

      A recent article in the AZ Republic newspaper, dated Sept. 27, 2014, reporter Anne Ryman, reported that the Arizona Board of Regents approved a 20-percent raise in base pay for ASU President Michael Crow that pushes his total annual compensation to nearly $900,000. One of the regents called Crow’s work in the university “transformative.”

      Yes, “transformative,” everywhere but the university’s police department. That is probably one of the key reasons Pickens survived so long because he did exactly what his bosses wanted him to do: keep the illusion of an adequately staffed police department so that the public perceived all four campuses as being safer than they really were.

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