The Scottsdale Chief released his “Please Don’t Fire Me” report, which is officially called the 2020 Civil Unrest Debriefing. Just for the record, if a police officer at Scottsdale get in an equal amount of hot water, they are not allowed to defend themselves with a document like this. Let me put a couple of things into perspective. It was released to the press and has been reported on locally.
The document states that SPD has 378 “fully trained and operational sworn officers”. SPD used to have approximately 440-ish. But then Rodbell made a political decision to not fight for increases in the budget, so now we have about 70 less officers. In fact, due to the lack of staffing, just recently Patrol eliminated two overlapping squads that would have been working during this incident.
Also noted in the report is SPD should have 400 officers. Why can’t SPD get those guys hired? There used to be a waiting list for people wanting to work for Scottsdale. I know, I was on it at one time. I’ll tell you why. The organization’s prestige has dropped so much since Rodbell took over that people would rather go work for other organizations like Chandler and Gilbert. This includes cops already working for Scottsdale. SPD can’t keep officers anymore.
Related to staffing, the document notes that on any given night there are 26 officer “specifically in District 2”. There used to be 50% more before staffing issues caused them to eliminate one of the Old Town Bike Units and the “Downtown Unit”, that specifically focused on the bars and the mall. I wonder if things would have been different if those additional bodies were working?
Rodbell reports that 113 officers were “preplanned personnel dedicated to the SFSM mission”. First, “preplanned” means he was calling them in as the shit was going down; they weren’t sitting around waiting, planning and then executing that plan. There was not an adequate plan. They were “winging” it.
113 sounds like a lot right? Well, you can look at the people called. Of the 113, I count 33 that were purely administrative. 30% of those called in weren’t out taking enforcement action. What is surprisingly absent is any mention of A Squad being called in. A Squad comes in at 9pm (roughly, depending on the district). There is ZERO mention of ANYONE from A Squad being called in early.
Maybe this is because the Criminal Intelligence Unit “advised they they expected 44 – 55 participants” (which is highlighted). Why is it highlighted . . . to show how badly they fucked that up? Seeing how this was 100% online, I’m curious whey nobody from the COMPUTER CRIMES UNIT was called to employ any of their tools to track the proliferation of the online social media posts? They night have seen how proliferated these posts were and understood what was about to happen. I could go into greater detail about why this was so jacked up but I don’t want to throw the line-level guys that were doing their best under the bus.
In several parts of the report, Robdell claims there was no “stand down order”, which is technically true, like Obi-Wan Kenobi said, “from a certain point of view”. I can tell you from every person I talked to that was there that night, they were told not to deploy many of the mobile field force tools (ie. CS gas, pepper balls, flash bangs) until things got way out of control, even though multiple supervisors asked for permission. I can also tell you that supervisors asked to move on rioters breaking windows and entering buildings but were told not to for officer safety reasons, as determined by the Incident Commander that wasn’t on-scene. But this is typical. Micromanage from above and don’t let those in the field make the decisions.
I can go into all the things NOT mentioned in the document which would show how poorly this was executed but it’s not worth my time. I will say this, those that I talked to that were working this from mid-afternoon that day, to a person they all noted a very noticeable, odd and “disturbing lack of urgency” (as one guys said) leading up to this incident. Officer working, and their first-line supervisors, increasingly felt the shit was going to hit the fan. They felt dismissed when they inquired about getting additional resources.
So this “first-hand account” is from the perspective of someone ignoring all the shit that went wrong. Read through the report. Did you read one recommendation of how to do things better in the future? Did you read anything that would lead you to believe that the leadership in the organization took any ownership of what was perceived as a total debacle by the citizens they serve? Hell no! But anyone that works there will tell you that this is the major problem with the leadership in place now. They have a total inability to be critical of their actions or faults. And it’s why the organization is a shadow of what it used to be.