ASU Police Department sees new leadership, new technology, new techniques
New leadership, innovative training, and community outreach have elevated the performance and professionalism of the 86-officer police force at ASU, progress that was recently praised by a rigorous international accreditation.
Michael Thompson recently took over as chief of police, followed by the appointment of two new assistant chiefs – Patrick Foster and Luigi Digirolamo, both veteran leaders with deep experience adapting organizations to the evolving changes in law enforcement. Each of these new top officers brings more than 20 years of policing to the department.
The department has brought on 15 new officers in the past year, sent two new cadets to the academy and created the new roles of two special victims detectives, who investigate sexual assault cases.
The department reorganized training to provide better public safety. Officers now complete mandatory cultural awareness and diversity training. Instructors also enhanced the extensive procedural justice and legitimacy training with all department members.
Department technology also is keeping up so that officers are policing smarter. ASU Police is in the process of equipping all patrol officers with body cameras, complementing the dash cameras already operating in all vehicles.
High marks from the outside
For a sixth consecutive time, the ASU Police Deparement received advanced reaccreditation for maintaining high standards from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA). The advanced reaccreditation, a globally recognized measure of professionalism, means that the department complies with state-of-the-art standards in four basic areas: policy and procedures, administration, operations, and support services.
“CALEA is an international accrediting body that sets very high standards for law enforcement,” said ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson. “I am very proud of the men and women of the ASU Police Department for the hard work they put forth daily to ensure that we meet those requirements. It is a testament to the dedication and commitment to professionalism we make for the communities we serve.”
To receive advanced reaccreditation ASU Police had to show compliance with 484 standards. The ASU Police Department is currently one of 69 university/college law enforcement agencies that are accredited by CALEA in the United States.
Engaging with the community
To strengthen connectivity with the university community, the department engaged in community forums and worked closely with the ASU Staff Council and the ASU Faculty Senate and the Committee for Campus Inclusion during the past year. During family weekend on Sept. 25, the department plans to play host to its first open house for ASU students, parents, faculty and staff, including tours of police headquarters. ASU officers now jointly patrol the off-campus Mill Ave. corridor alongside Tempe police officers. Other ASU officers and detectives work in tandem with Tempe police units.
ASU Police stays on top of the increasing challenges facing law enforcement nationally and responds by enhancing patrols and implementing smarter policing methods.
For instance, the department encourages ASU students, faculty, staff and community members to use the free ASU LiveSafe mobile app to report crimes or ask for assistance across all four ASU campuses. The app enables users to send ASU Police real-time, anonymous tips that include chat, pictures, audio and video. The anonymity makes users more comfortable with sending in tips.
The app also provides direct access to ASU Police dispatch and 911 emergency services. A “SafeWalk” feature allows family and friends to virtually “walk” app users home while they view the user’s progress on a virtual map. Additionally, students can request ASU Safety Escort Services on all campuses via the SafeRide feature. For more information on how to download the app to Android and iPhone devices, visit livesafe.asu.edu.
Nicole Franks, Nicole.Franks@asu.edu