One exposed lie quickly follows another as one more news story breaks about the Arizona State University Police department’s lack of readiness. On the night of another violent sexual assault ASUPD was understaffed as usual. We are still short the 153 sworn we are supposed to have for all shifts and all campuses. Even if we had enough staffing for patrol, nights in Tempe would still be conducting continuous traffic stops on Tempe city streets far from the student populations on campus. They unwittingly set the stage and create the opportunity for crime on a unpatrolled campus with nobody watching the hen house.
This is what happens when your patrol and supervisors have no worthwhile experience, set their own random missions and goals, and could care less what happens on campus unless they’re called to it. This is what happens when your leadership doesn’t recognize harmful trends and ignores the problems they are aware of year after year.
We certainly have more than enough when it comes to supervisor staffing. Five commanders for four campuses, never at those campuses, who are always in Tempe on days with none on nights, 17 sergeants and counting, virtually the same upper command structure of an entire city police department outnumbering the officers on patrol at any given time.
How is this rational when we are struggling to keep boots on the ground to patrol the university? It’s not, but it’s the same dumb “insulate oneself through over-mangement” strategy Pickens did at his former university before getting the boot there.
Do you think staffing will get better soon? Doubtful. It hasn’t improved under the 14 years of former chief John Pickens so-called leadership and has shown little progress under Thompson who seems to be doing the same thing expecting different results. The definition of insanity is the business management model here.
As officers lateral out, part of another ignored yearly trend, these numbers will predictably dip dangerously low again. Why does this happen? Maybe a professional group of people sworn to tell the truth don’t care to work for an organization that continues to deny the truth year after year?Maybe the Kevin Salcido types with their “they won’t be missed” attitudes were one too many and people that risk their lives need some respect and recognition for what they do. The reasons are as legion as the former employees of ASUPD.
ABC15 published this article, our notations are highlighted and underlined.
Does Arizona State University have enough police officers when it comes to the number of students on campus?
On September 9, 2014, around 8:20 p.m., a student reported a sexual assault at the Adelphi Commons II housing complex near Apache Boulevard and Rural Road in Tempe, Ariz.
The complex houses students from the School of Sustainability Residential Community and the School of Letters and Sciences Residential College.
According to ASU, the University’s police department was understaffed that night.
“ASU Police had 4 police officers (minimum required number of officers is 7) and 2 police sergeants (minimum required number of sergeants is 1) working patrol. Two officers called in sick.”
The information was the number of police officers and sergeants working that night for all of ASU’s campuses, including Tempe and downtown Phoenix. (On the night of the assault ASU had 4 officers for 4 campuses, does that sound safe to you?) No police officer wants to call another agency for backup because they routinely don’t have any, that practice is dangerous and prone to liability.)
This data came months after ABC15 submitted a request for of the information from the University.
It also shows discrepancies with what the University originally told ABC15 when we first reported on the story.
On September 25, 2014, an ASU Spokesperson said “I can tell you now that the police department was at normal staffing levels on the night in question.”
However, that information isn’t true, according to new information released this week.
A spokesman for the University declined our request for an interview, but released a statement.
“Student safety is a top priority at ASU. Since June of last year, the number of sworn ASU police officers has increased from 74 to 89. The ASU Police Department determines the minimum staffing levels of all campuses. Our police force also uses technological tools to provide the securest environment and most expedited response possible, including direct link to our dispatch center through police call boxes located throughout campus and a smart phone application to report criminal activity. We also have agreements in place with neighboring police departments to provide extra support if needed.”
ASU’s Senior Director for Media Relations Mark Johnson said an officer responded to the alleged assault within six minutes of being dispatched.
The article ends.
We are still short the 153 sworn we are supposed to have for all shifts and all campuses.
There are recognized standards for ratios of students to police officers, but the current ASU administration ignores the standard to the detriment of student safety.
How ASU’s ratio of sworn officers stacks up to enrollment:
ASU: 1.1 per 1,000 students.
UA: 1.6 per 1,000 students.
U.S. Department of Justice survey: 2.1 per 1,000 students at public colleges and 1.5 per 1,000 for public schools with enrollments of more than 15,000.
Eric Chin, Purdue University Police Department survey in December 2013 of Big Ten Conference schools: Highest ratio was Northwestern University at 2.9 per 1,000. Lowest was Ohio State at .85 per 1,000.
ASU’s ratio excludes 13,000 students who only take classes online and don’t come to campuses.
As for the lack of staffing on ASU’s four campuses, you might recall in January 2014, we posted a link to a Department of Justice study that analyzed staffing at university/college campuses. In the post, we illustrated how grossly understaffed ASUPD in comparison to the student populous. ABC15 recently revisited this issue, and also asked ASU officials to comment on the low staffing numbers for the PD. In lieu of agreeing to an on-camera interview, the university released a vague “statement”, and interim Assistant Chief Michele Rourke released the staffing numbers to ABC15.
What “Assistant Chief” Rourke failed to mention, however, is how ASUPD doesn’t really have 78 “patrol officers” because the majority of the people in the aforementioned number are assigned to duties OTHER THAN patrol!
The 78 officers that work patrol incorporates: 7 officers in training who are NOT able to work as solo units; 3 chiefs, 5 commanders, 17 sergeants, a K9 handler, 3 detectives, a special events officer, and a crime prevention officer…NONE of which engage in regular, routine patrol duties as one of the primary functions of their jobs! The vast majority of these positions are either supervisory in nature or incorporate desk work for the majority of the work day, so they aren’t “on patrol”.
When you subtract the new officers, administrators, supervisors, and people assigned to other duties, you’re left with about 40 officers to patrol 4 campuses twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. That number also doesn’t account for officers who may be out on sick leave, vacation, training, comp time, etc.
Michelle Rourke, a spokeswoman for ASU gave the following data for patrol officers at ASU:
July 2014 – total sworn: 78 (We are still short the 153 sworn we are supposed to have for all shifts and all campuses.)
January 2014 – total sworn: 74
July 2013 – total sworn: 66
July 2012 –total sworn: 65
The US Department of Justice has published statistics which analyze a myriad of variables that are applicable to university/college police departments.
This include demographics of sworn officer to student ratio for a several population sizes of universities/colleges. According to page 3 of the report:
- Campuses using sworn officers employed on average 2.3 full-time officers per 1,000 students. Private campuses averaged 3 sworn officers per 1,000 students compared to 2.1 sworn officers per 1,000 students on public campuses.
ASU currently has approximately 73,000 students enrolled on all four of its campuses. If ASU followed the national average of employing 2.1 sworn officers per 1,000 students, the department should employ 153 sworn employees. To put this number into perspective, ASUPD currently has 72 sworn employees (which includes the Chief, Assistant Chiefs, and several Commanders, none of which work patrol. This number also incorporates employees who are in the academy/being hired who should NOT be counted in the “sworn employee” total). *This information was published January of last year and has changed slightly since then.
Is ASU Police Department understaffed: New information released to ABC15 on reported sexual assault.
Previous stories about ASUPD’s lack of staffing:
The Arizona Republic wrote a previous article about ASUPD staffing shortfalls.
ASU police staffing trails campus growth.