As San Francisco nears the end of its search for a police chief to replace ousted Greg Suhr, an interesting wrinkle has developed in current interim chief Toney Chaplin's attempt to get the job for real: He is refusing to say where he earned his bachelor's degree. What's more, ABC 7 reports that Chaplin won't say when he got it, or what the degree is in. Which: What?
Indeed, Chaplin doesn't have to provide that information to be considered for the job, as we've discussed here before. The Chronicle reiterates that unlike in most major American cities, in San Francisco a bachelor's degree isn't a prerequisite for the role of police chief. Rather, here in SF, it is merely "highly desirable."
Regardless, this refusal to be forthcoming with what is widely viewed as routine background information — not personal/private details — is worrying to at least one Supervisor who fears it may speak to a potentially less than transparent tenure if Chaplin is eventually hired for the role.
"A chief who is going to be open and provide as much information as possible, what you see is what you get, so in that sense it's not encouraging," Supervisor David Campos told ABC 7.
And while Mayor Ed Lee has denied it, signs do suggest that he may have already made up his mind about Chaplin. Although the deadline to submit an application isn't until tomorrow, the job listing was pulled last week. When called out, members of San Francisco's Police Commission told the Examiner that the listing was just a first draft.
Chaplin has spoken a bit about his higher education, but only in a loose manner. “I probably have 200 credits,” he told the Chronicle. However, on his application for a management certificate with the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training in January of last year he listed 65 credits but no information about a degree.
That Chaplin could put this entire controversy to rest simply by providing details about his higher education, and that he still refuses to do so, isn't the only thing about him raising eyebrows. And as discussed earlier as well, Chaplin lives in the East Bay, so if he's selected as the new chief he would be the first person in recent memory to hold that job who doesn't live in the city.
Fortunately however for Chaplin, much like having a college degree, living in SF isn't a requirement for the job.