Acting SFPD chief reveals education background as 60 vie for job of top cop

Acting Chief Toney Chaplin told the San Francisco Examiner on Thursday that he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University, but did not specify which campus, when he received his degree or what he studied.

The issue of Chaplin’s qualifications has been front and center as The City searches for a new chief, and Thursday’s revelation marks the first time Chaplin has confirmed where he received his bachelor’s degree. The news of Chaplin’s degree also comes the day after the close of the search for a permanent San Francisco police chief.

The Police Commission said 60 candidates have applied for the job of top cop, including Chaplin.

Such details about Chaplin’s education are important because those close to the police chief search have said Chaplin has a good chance of being appointed the permanent chief. However, others wondered why Chaplin previously did not disclose where he received his bachelor’s degree.

“Vague statements” about Chaplin’s educational background is troubling for the leader of a department that says it’s trying to be more transparent, Supervisor Aaron Peskin said Thursday.

“Just tell us,” Peskin said.

Until now, Chaplin, who has the backing of former Chief Greg Suhr and the San Francisco Police Officers Association, was quiet on the subject, only saying that the has a BA.

However, none of the three CSU entities could find any record that Chaplin attended or graduated from CSU.

The City does not require a BA for its chief, but one is highly desired.

Little more is known about Chaplin’s background except that he’s been in the department for more than two decades, worked the gang unit and has little executive experience such as running a district station as a captain.

In fact, he only made the rank of captain while simultaneously being placed in the command staff as deputy chief in charge of a new small bureau heading reforms in the beginning of 2016. Prior to be appointed acting chief in the wake of Suhr’s resignation in May, Chaplin’s largest command was the homicide unit, which includes about 12 inspectors. Still, he scored in the bottom half of those who passed the captain’s test, ranking 21 out of 38, according to city records.

The search

Of the 60 candidates who have put their names in the hat, 11 are from within the department.

“The Commission has spent the last month crisscrossing San Francisco and talking with residents, community members and police officers about what qualities they are looking for in our next chief,” Police Commission President Suzy Loftus said in a statement.

The commission will hear a report on the applicants and search Sept. 7.

The application period, being undertaken for $49,000 by Ralph Andersen & Associates, officially closed Wednesday. The commission will send three final of their choice of the mayor who makes the ultimate call.

The job pays $316,732 with benefits, has no residency requirement for a chief leading one of the nation’s largest department –nearly 3,000 staff including 2,346 sworn officers — with a budget of about $576 million.


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