Local News

Police chief candidate bows out over bogus academic claims

SPOKANE, Wash. - One of four candidates for the Spokane police chief position abruptly withdrew his name from consideration after questions of his academic credentials were raised less than a day before his interview.

The sudden change of heart happened after a Spokesman Review article questioned the validity of retired Stockton, Calif. Police Chief Blair Ulring's academic credentials, a blunder that was probably the last thing that Mayor David Condon wanted to see as he tries to put a new and forthright face on the Spokane Police Department.

When Ulring submitted his resume to the City of Spokane, he claimed he had received his bachelors and masters degrees in the administration of justice from La Salle University.

However the timing seemed suspect to intern Justin Runquist's editors at the Spokesman Review.

"Our editor, Addy Hatch, just looked at the resume and it looked a little suspicious and she thought 'How could this guy have two degrees from La Salle when he was working at the police station in Stockton?'" Runquist said.

Ulring out

Runquist started making phone calls and found out La Salle University in Pennsylvania doesn't offer the degrees Ulring claimed on his resume. There's another LaSalle University in New Orleans that was shut down in 2002 after an FBI investigation found it was a diploma mill. That was the same year Ulring said on his resume that he received his masters degree.

Hours after the Spokesman Review printed Runquist's story, Ulring dropped out of  the competition.

"Mr. Ulring called us this morning and withdrew his name from the candidate list and cited personal reasons and we're moving forward from there," city Spokesperson Marlene Feist said.

His decision to withdraw from consideration leaves three candidates for Spokane police chief: Daniel Mahoney, the commanding officer of the San Francisco Police Department's Ingleside Station; George Markert, the director of the Office of Public Integrity in Rochester,N.Y.; and Frank Straub, the director of public safety for Indianapolis.

Two of those candidates -- Daniel Mahoney and George Markert -- have already landed in Spokane. Acting Police Chief Scott Stephens took them out to lunch at the Spokane Club, where they are also spending the night.

The third candidate, Frank Straub, is expected to arrive in Spokane late Tuesday evening, and Stephens will meet him for breakfast Wednesday.

Ulring was named a finalist for the police chief position in Omaha, Neb. earlier this month. ABC affiliate KETV in Omaha is reporting that city officials are "waiting to verify reports on all candidates before reaching out to Ulring."