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Acting Police Chief Offers Proof Of Degree After Questions Surface

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The search for a new police chief in San Francisco brought up questions about acting Chief Toney Chaplin's education that led to him showing proof he has a college degree.

An article by the SF Examiner this week had raised questions about the acting chief's educational background after he declined to give specifics on his degree.

Chaplin also explained why he first refused to talk about it.

"I have gone to many colleges and I finished my degree in Colorado State University," said Chaplin. "It's an online program that I finished here in the police department."

Chief Chaplin told KPIX 5 that he started attending college early in his police career, thanks to the GI Bill after he got back from serving in Iraq for Operation Desert Storm.

But he dropped out after his career started to take off.

A few years back, he decided to finish it, enrolling in Colorado State University's global campus taking courses online.

"Everything on my resume is verifiable and I will provide proof when asked by the police commission, if asked," said Chaplin.

He went as far as to show KPIX 5 reporter Cate Cauguiran the degree off camera, but he didn't want to share it publicly.

"I am the only out front and I think it would be inappropriate for me to campaign for the job while doing the job," said Chaplin.

When asked why he initially evaded questions about his degree, Chaplin replied, "I had some safety concerns for family, I wanted to make sure that I didn't divulge too much personal information because right now we live in an online society and you can find out just about anybody."

The chief said when he first was appointed he was threatened by white supremacists groups.

Back in July, a person with the Twitter handle @BethesdaSavior posted "Let us behead this black man, please" with an image of Chaplin next to a guillotine.

Chaplin said the new questions over his education were raising some of his own.

"I grapple with the question of, why am I being specifically being targeted for this particular question?" said Chaplin.

The job does not require a college degree, but Colorado State University confirmed to KPIX 5 that Chaplin had graduated in June of this year with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership.

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