KSU officials recommend changes to reduce police turnover


Kennesaw State University human resource officials are recommending its police force review its internal affairs policies and explore ways to diversify its command staff after many officers complained of high turnover in the department.

Some officers and its chief are blaming each other for the trouble, according to an internal report the university released Monday.

The turnover rate has been as high as 25 percent since Roger Stearns became chief in 2014, the report said, with 23 terminations in 2015.

The report written by KSU’s human resources office says many officers have “little to no respect” for Stearns’ leadership abilities.

Stearns, who announced last week he’s resigning at the end of August, complained of stubbornness in the department. Stearns’ resignation letter had no criticism and praised the department for improving and increasing services.

The report was written July 25 to KSU President Sam Olens, who took over at the university in November.

KSU is conducting an internal equal employment opportunity investigation, officials said. The report included anonymous complaints of ticket quotas that could damage the relationship with “the campus minority communities” and racial bias in the department. Human resource officials recommended that the department explore opportunities to increase diversity within the command staff.

Stearns and officers agreed pay is a reason for the turnover and officers need better equipment, but some supervisors said the chief’s management style was another problem.

The complaints included a claim that three officers entered students’ residences without permission after knocking on the door. One major suggested an internal affairs investigation, the report said. Stearns decided on more training for the entire department, it said.

Some officers also complained they learned about changes in their own job duties through the chief’s periodic newsletter.

HR officials recommended an immediate review of the department’s internal affairs policies, a process for the university’s chief legal affairs officer to review pending internal affairs cases, consulting with human resources before police administrators make any disciplinary actions and improving diversity in leadership.

HR officials conducted their review in late June, interviewing 20 officers, including Stearns and the command staff.

Here’s a copy of the internal report.

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