On behalf of the members of The Lawrence Police Superior Officers Association (LPSOA), we regretfully write this letter after taking a vote of NO CONFIDENCE and as a result are releasing this information. Unfortunately, circumstances have left us with no other recourse. We have lost all trust, faith and confidence in Chief Roy Vasque’s ability to lead this department.
Chief Vasque fosters an atmosphere of hostility, retaliation and intimidating behavior. Chief Vasque has established a pattern and practice of inequitable treatment of department personnel. His lack of leadership, mismanagement, and poor policy decisions have damaged the relationship between the administration of The Lawrence Police Department and the men and women of The Lawrence Police Department.
Attempts to address workplace problems and avoid grievances with Chief Vasque have gone unheeded. His lack of leadership and poor management style have contributed to poor retention of qualified personnel. Overly harsh discipline, undermining of the chain of command and officer safety concerns are only a few of the ongoing problems within the department. Morale is perilously low at this time within the Lawrence Police Department.
A bad manager can take a good staff and destroy it thereby causing highly qualified employees to leave the Department and those who remain to lose all motivation. Chief Vasque’s abuse of power, narcissistic attitude toward Officers and intimidation are more than any employee should have to endure.
In closing, we would like to reiterate that the men and women of The Lawrence Police Superior Officers Association have lost faith in Chief Roy Vasque’s ability to lead this Department.
Specific examples of Chief Vasque’s mismanagement of the Lawrence Police Department are as follows;
Chief Vasque has failed to staff 3 of 3 Bureaus within the Lawrence Police Department with designated Commanding Officers leaving these positions vacant and unmanaged for periods of time that exceed acceptable norms. These include the Bureau’s of Field Services (patrol), Investigations /(Detective) and Administration. These vacancies should be delegated to the appropriate personnel in a timely manner that would facilitate proper operations and maintain the integrity of the chain of command. Additionally Chief Vasque has not assigned a risk assessment officer for the Department since the position became vacant.
Chief Vasque has mishandled the budget of the police department by means of repeatedly engaging in the poor management practice of awarding time owed / compensatory time to excessive levels that far exceed reasonable standards. This abuse of the LPD budget has created an unfunded liability for the Police Department and by extension the City of Lawrence that negatively impacts the ability of the City of Lawrence to raise pay and benefits for employees.
Chief Vasque has been inattentive regarding the Department’s grant income as he had repeatedly failed to maintain proper controls over the employees delegated with securing those funds. This has led to nearly losing millions of dollars in State and Federal aid that is utilized for staffing and paying for essential law enforcement programs that the citizens of Lawrence rely upon.
Chief Vasque’s toxic leadership has contributed to an environment causing nearly 30 Sworn Officers to voluntarily separate from the Lawrence Police Department in the last two and a half years and we fear by early 2023 this number will exceed 40 Officers as many are in the process of actively separating to other law enforcement agencies. The loss of years of invested leadership, training and institutional knowledge will have an effect on the LPD for years to come. The hemorrhaging of our officers must come to an end in order to effectively manage the LPD and police the City of Lawrence.
The news from the Lawrence Superior Police Officers Union’s vote of no confidence captures such importance that I decided not to write about other topics.
Mayor Brian De Peña has never wanted to fire any employee fearing a court battle that would end up costing the city more. This letter is testimony that he is taking a great risk with the officers being exposed to the treatment the union alleges and it would be possible to file an abuse lawsuit in court.
The patrolmen’s union did not take a vote because only 40 of 120 attended the meeting.
This is a situation that warrants immediate attention.