The employees of the Arizona State University Police Department have been given two mandatory training sessions totaling 8 hours on the issue of legitimacy, calling it “Legitimacy Training”. In particular, this means the legitimacy of the ASU Police Department in the eyes of the public. Again the legitimacy of the police department to its own employees is ignored for this solution to a problem that doesn’t exist here. The presenters of the training stated repeatedly that no one incident brought about the training, but neglected to specify which incidents did. This is the lying by omission we have come to expect from PD leadership who treat transparency within the agency like its Ebola. If you are running the ASUPD with integrity, then transparency within the agency to build legitimacy among the troops is a no-brainer.
What prompted our “Legitimacy Training”?
Employees understand this so-called “training” to be the result of the Officer Stuart Ferrin and Professor Ursula Ore contact because quite frankly, what else is there in the eyes of the public? Never mind that the Arizona State University cleared Officer Ferrin, the county attorney cleared Officer Ferrin, the courts of Arizona cleared Officer Ferrin, and now the FBI cleared him with the university still failing to act accordingly on the findings. Why wasn’t he at the “Legitimacy training” with the rest of his brothers instead of being forced to stay home? The university is searching for information to support its New American thesis on this issue and still can’t find it.
Unaddressed internal issues decrease ASUPD legitimacy.
The public isn’t aware of other issues with contacts that were alarming to the majority of seasoned officers at ASUPD. Are they aware of the white suspect being assaulted, tased in handcuffs by a black officer who has a preoccupation with race? Probably not. Where is the outrage over that? Where’s the questioning about the use of force, the internal affair investigation, the admin leave? There won’t be any. The people who promote themselves and their agenda by trading in race issues suffered by the generations who came before them have nothing to gain from this story. By turning the cheek on this issue they become part of the problem of racism and why it persists.
Unrelated distractions decrease internal ASUPD legitimacy.
When a police department listens to a college professor exclaim, “…350 years of oppression and 100 years of Jim Crow!” is that supposed to apply to us? It does not. We would have been more impressed with quotations from people who united us than people who pulled us apart. Whether you are African American with this heritage, Jewish with a heritage of 1000 years of oppression, genocide, or have American Indian heritage with hundreds of years of genocide it still does not apply to what we are talking about here today. While all of these things are horrible things, none of it still has anything to do with the ASU police department or what took place on the Officer Ferrin/Assistant Professor Ore contact. Attempting to draw a tie to them when there isn’t one is not only insulting to those who suffered through those eras, but it keeps hate alive.
The university’s emphasis on publicity instead of solutions decreases internal and external ASUPD legitimacy.
The heads of the Arizona State University don’t take any interest in the ASU Police Department unless the department makes the news in a negative manner. Even when the department makes the news the university is interested in a public relations and spin instead of making a lasting change in how it conducts business and holding PD management responsible. The university and its PD management can curse “the blog” all it wants, it can reach out to its corrupt counterparts in AZDPS for a last chance fascist stab at its critics who utilized their 1st amendment rights, but at the end of the day we will be fully engaged on a continual basis because we are not writing the narrative here. The mismanagement of the ASUPD is done with the tacit approval of the ASU university administration who ultimately provide the content and write the narrative. The commanders failed the last chief and they will fail this one. This will go on and on, so you might need more Julie Newbergs unless you intend to fix the problem and stop insulting the personnel who swore to protect you and protect the public whose needs you ignore.
Distractions from the issues and generic solutions decrease internal ASUPD legitimacy.
The first session of the legitimacy training was a tepid coverage of the fundamental rule; treat others the way you would like to be treated. While the ASUPD is a relatively small department it has a diverse group of people who do the policing, not diverse in issues of race, but diverse in their experience and manners of policing. To understand how the ASUPD handles perceived problems it usually ignores them, picks on individuals with no personal connection to ASUPD command, or issues generic blanket statements of intent to the department as a whole where they hit the windows trash bin at the speed of sound.
This latest “training” is one of those generic blanket statements of intent to pacify people who only are making the issue about race and don’t understand it to be a greater problem within ASUPD. The statement in this case is two-fold. The first part is, “You police officers need to treat the public the way you would expect to be treated.” This statement is empty and useless for the majority of our staff because they already do that. We are insulted by the lukewarm attempt to address an issue that doesn’t pertain to us and pertains to a few who are never and will never be disciplined for it. The Pickens protection racket clique still remains intact holding the department back. Either Chief Thompson doesn’t have the will to contend with it or the University administration is micro-managing the department. In either case we will be inspired to seek redress outside the university until the issues are resolved.
What’s the real reason for the ASUPD going to “Legitimacy Training”?
The university management (Morgan Olsen, Kevin Salcido) failed to supervise the university police department management (The command of John L Pickens), who then in turn failed to supervise the police department middle management (Night Sergeants, in this specific case Sergeant Mark Aston), who then failed to supervise officers in the field who made needlessly aggressive contacts common practice. Doing what you think a “cop” is supposed to do isn’t the same as being a cop. Hollywood gets it wrong more than it gets it right and the university policing environment might as well be Hollywood to a city beat cop dealing with serious criminals. We have the luxury of dealing with junky bike thieves or a woman j-walking across a street and refusing to identify herself because she distrusts law enforcement. We are in the media spotlight not because one officer went too far, but because a top heavy with management police department failed to do the one thing it has more than enough staffing for; management.
Establish leadership legitimacy or repeat the “egg on the face” process over and over again.
Michael Crow, Morgan Olsen, Kevin Salcido, this is why more outside non-university police department leadership is essential; they know the reality from the fantasy. Now that we have a chief originally from a city agency running the department, so empower them to do so. Allow the chief to do what he sees necessary to fix this department and if he fails hold him accountable like anyone else. If he fails with no power to make decisions and succeed then who do we have to blame except university leadership? You are not going to get results without establishing internal legitimacy within ASUPD first.
Who knows more about the day to day operations of a police department? People with 20+ years in the business or people who never did the job? We need people who know the dynamics of the department, who can identify the specific problems of ASUPD and develop solutions for them. The “clique” within ASUPD needs to be out of business ASAP because it has been bad for business. It has been good to its members who received promotion after promotion, self-awarded accolades, special training, out of state paid for trips to do it, much higher than average evaluations done by their friends, and any specialty position they apply for. Don’t put a new chief in the same category as Pickens who turned this place into a country club and referred to us all as “worker bees” while lying to us and you about department issues, and doing nothing effective about them.
Experienced police leadership knows this is a training issue that should have been addressed for a number of officers, not just Ferrin. They know this is a training issue for their corporals, sergeants, who were all standing by watching these events with indifference for years until one of them stopped someone with a voice who could find people to listen.
Experienced police leadership knows this is more than a training issue for the commanders who approved of these trends for years without seeing this problem or many others that could have led to litigation many times over if pursued by the public. The university administration has itself to blame for the public relation fires it’s currently scrambling to put out because it neglected its human resources within ASUPD, it turned its back on its protectors, and we aren’t going to take it. This is over when the problems get fixed; consider this a vote of no confidence in command. If we see changes we can believe in then we will believe, we’ll blog about it. After fourteen years of collective disappointment that’s the way it has to be.