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.
If the administration of ASU is anything like the administration of it’s police department they lie so frequently they actually start to believe what they’re telling people.
Asupd command has been caught in so many lies over the years it isn’t funny. Where the lie doesn’t succeed the threats and intimidation follow.
The university has academic experts on motivation and business management, maybe their experience needs to be applied to benefit our unimaginative leadership.
They have proven their ability to lie, no doubt. They have yet to prove they can manage a department of public safety, retention for public safety, or come to terms with how idiotic their analogies can be.
Morgan Olsen is a god damn idiot to compare a police department staffing issue to a grounds maintenance staffing issue.
When grounds doesn’t have enough people some plants might die, when your police department doesn’t have enough people some people might die, get raped, and it’s somewhat more important than the aesthetics they spend a lot more time and money on.
I remember reading his comments about staffing. His attitude is, sure the police department wants more people, every department does. He still doesn’t understand public safety isn’t just another department.
Morgan Olsen, who holds the police rank of Captain Crunch, thinks the police department has nothing better to do, but sit around waiting for Live Safe activations about nonsense.
He doesn’t realize there are real criminals targeting our students who need the full attention of a functional police department.
What qualifications does Morgan Olsen have to manage a police department? What does he know about public safety?
I will quote what he said to the az republic, “Morgan Olsen, ASU’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the university places a priority on having safe and secure campuses, and to his knowledge, public safety hasn’t suffered with the staffing.”
Morgan Olsen lies. He has been told repeatedly about the staffing issues affecting the Arizona State University Police Department he’s practically in charge of. If he’s not aware of the staffing issue he’s more incapable of managing the police department than we thought.
Contrast Morgan Olsen’s statement with the statement of retired ASU Police Sergeant Marvin Tahmahkera, a 22 year vet. In the same article he says,
“Every day it seemed like a game of Tetris. Someone would call in sick,”
He recalls responding to a domestic-violence call by himself at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, a situation where law-enforcement best practices say having a backup officer is a necessary precaution. The staffing levels sometimes made it difficult to patrol dorms, look for underage drinkers and rattle doors at night to make sure they were locked.
“Many times I was the officer in charge, and I was just praying nothing would happen that night,” he said.
This is one more example of why Morgan Olsen doesn’t know what he’s talking about. When some innocent girl gets sexually assaulted because he kept ignoring the problems at the police department, then he shares part of the blame.
It’s shameful how these individuals continue to lie and deceive the public on serious public safety deficiencies.
The deception and lies is now garnering front-page coverage in The Arizona Republic and other media outlets throughout the Valley.
It’s the same old routine, but this time people are watching and keeping track. The consistent cover-ups, lies, and failure to take any action on issues that profoundly affect others shows an institutional leadership failure.
Continued stories like this show how out of touch they really are. These lessons of low life ethics have no role in a place of higher education. I think of all the people I arrested who were more honest then our command and their boss’s bosses and that’s sad.
The Arizona State University Police Department has always been ran by men who consistently hold themselves to a lower standard than they hold for their subordinates. The lower your rank, the higher the standard.
It has always been this way and it always will be until the leadership of the university forces a change of the culture within the pd.
Chief Mike Thompson is quick to point out and take action against officers. Just like Pickens he surrounded himself with unethical men he will not hold to the same standard the common officer is held to.
When they lie they get a free pass, not fired. Integrity, integrity, integrity, there’s a reason it’s talked about and stressed so much in this profession.
The meaning of that message is lost the higher one climbs in this department and it disgusts me and many others here too timid and intidated to publicly voice their opinions.
Their ethical standard is evident in the Ferrin/Ore issue. According to the claims they are making now they should have done something in his first year of probation, but they didn’t.
It took them 7 months to amass a pile of paperwork on Ferrin. How much was produced after the incident? Sure he made mistakes, but it doesn’t look like they did anything about it.
They gloss over the fact all new officers make mistakes, even experienced ones. There are plenty of things they could have done, but all they have to show for it is paper? That’s it? Look at all the mistakes rookie and experienced officers made since he’s been on leave!
They bring up exonerated issues of the past and change the findings. I wouldn’t put it past the Pickens era command staff to forge more paperwork or commit any sort or any number of unscrupulous acts to see this thing through because it’s nothing new.
Wheresmy907, Chief Thompson and his number 2 were hanging out with Ore’s attorney when they were “deciding” his case and shopping the globe for someone who would say Ferrin acted wrongly and put their name to it. Am I supposed to believe some private eye in Phoenix on their payroll over the FBI? Come on, let’s be real.
How hard is it to tell the truth about this. All you have to say is, “We do not have enough police officers and will be continuously hiring to maintain appropriate staffing levels. People retire, lateral to other police departments, and we are planning for this.”
Once they say something they then have to follow through or else they will find themselves being called out for being liars over and over again. They can’t claim not to have the money when they are continuing to expand enrollment, increase student costs, and spend it on numerous multi-million dollar construction projects.
They keep getting caught in lies, so it must be pretty difficult for them to tell the truth.
They are too proud to admit there’s even a problem. When you’re perfect you don’t make mistakes. Look forward to more short falls and lies attempting to explain it away because that’s what they seem good at. They aren’t good at fixing problems. That’s why they look like asses making excuses every time they comment on them with vague cookie cutter responses you would expect from a politician.
The lies will continue until leadership improves. Maybe it’s time to look at why we have a retention problem to keep us from perpetuating the staffing problem we haven’t tackled for an eternity. It’s absurd.
The command of a police department can’t tell the truth, their bosses in the administration of ASU can’t tell the truth, so what is the public to believe about public safety at the university?
They know the public won’t find the truth acceptable and that’s the reason they won’t tell the truth. They know the liability of the truth, public safety mismanagement, and hope to avoid it with lies.
It’s a disappointing statement about their character as men and young naive kids will pay the price for it until something is done about it.
Maybe they can do an independent review of our staffing requirements by finding some random private eye with a post office box mailing address out of Phoenix.
That satisfies all their requirements for legitimacy, but nobody else’s. Copperfield’s janitor can produce a better illusion.
They had a mandatory training session for all asupd employees on building legitimacy. Do they believe this is building or destroying that legitimacy?
They lie because they do not have scruples, they don’t have a moral gag reflex that would prevent a reasonable person from doing something wrong. I’ve seen it first hand and shake my head every time. These people just don’t get it.
The only way to survive here is to surrender your dignity and consistently kiss the right ass or keep your mouth shut and maintain a no personality and non-threatening profile hoping the wrong people won’t target you on the playground.
They are more interested in silencing the people who disagree with them than addressing the problems of public safety and human resource management. This is a luxury of university policing and eventually our luck will run out.
There are research proven successful management methods and they are ignored at a university of all places. Nobody holds them accountable for success. Goals, do they have any?
I think of the phrase, “One rotten apple will spoil the bunch.” That rotten apple was John Pickens. He was a miserable leader who promoted the most despotic counterproductive traits in his command. His promotions are like the scat an animal would leave to defile a place and make it theirs by making it so disagreeable to others.
Only government can operate this incompetent and remain in business with no motive to improve. I’m worried Thompson might be too in bed with command to want to change the culture here. Where’s the incentive?
He’s only partially in control with K. Salcido and M. Olsen managing so many aspects of what the prior chief controlled. I suspect they fear a repeat of what happened under Pickens. It’s going to happen again because nothing has changed.
I would go as far as saying the likliness of things going wrong has increased. For the sake of the public we serve, our families, and our own safety I hope I’m wrong.