KHQ Takes A Closer Look At The Final Four Candidates - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

KHQ Takes A Closer Look At The Final Four Candidates For Spokane Police Chief

From left to right: Blair Ulring, Daniel Mahoney, Frank Straub & George Markert From left to right: Blair Ulring, Daniel Mahoney, Frank Straub & George Markert

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Mayor David Condon announced Wednesday the four finalists vying for the position of Chief of Police and the next steps in the chief selection process.

The finalists were determined through two initial screening rounds. The Mayor's Advisory Board on Policing completed a review and ranking of all applications, and several City senior managers then completed phone interviews with seven top candidates.

The results of those screenings resulted in the following finalists:

Daniel J. Mahoney, Commanding Officer of the Ingleside Police Station within the San Francisco Police Department.

Daniel Mahoney has spent the last three decades within the San Francisco Police Department and in 2011 was one of three finalists selected for the position of Police Chief for S.F.P.D., the sixth largest metro area in the country. Mahoney said he was interested in the opportunity in Spokane since it was posted in November. He said he feels his strengths play to the weaknesses of the department as it is today.

Right now Mahoney is the commanding officer of the Ingleside Police Station. His department oversees 123,000 people and has done a lot in his time with the San Francisco Police from legal work to administration to risk management.

San Francisco TV News Reporter Vic Lee said he "highly recommends" Mahoney and that "you cannot go wrong with him." He went on to say that the police support him, the public appreciates him and the media trusts him.

George E. Markert, Director of the Office of Public Integrity for the City of Rochester, N.Y., and previously the Executive Deputy Chief for the City of Rochester Police Department.

Markert, 49, was born and raised just outside of Rochester, New York, in the town of Henrietta.   

He has spent the last 27 years in the Rochester Police Department, and was named Deputy Police Chief in 2008.  He also now works as the Director of the Office of Public Integrity for the City of Rochester, investigating fraud, corruption, waste and abuse of power. 

He began his career as a corrections officer with the New York Department of Corrections before joining the Rochester Police Department as a rookie back in 1985.

"I thought it was an exciting career," he told KHQ.  "But I also thought it was a career where I could have an effect and make a difference, and so far, I've been able to do that, and am looking to do that even further in Spokane."

And he may get the chance; Markert is now one of 4 finalists for the Spokane Police Chief position. 

He told KHQ he's proud of the work he's done in Rochester to reduce the crime rate to the lowest it's been in 25 years.

"I didn't do it alone," he said, "But part of that is how you lead a team, how you motivate people, how you work with a community, how you have that open door and create a sense of legitimacy for the dept in the community's eyes." 

When asked if fighting property crime would be a priority if hired, Markert said: 

"I think we have to look at whatever issue is facing the community and address it.  I'm not a fan of over-specializing in departments, I believe it's the role of every police officer to combat crime and to build a relationship with the community, and if property crime is the number one issue, then that's what we need to have all of our police officers focus on." 

Markert says Rochester is similar to Spokane in terms of size and demographics, and while he doesn't have any ties to Washington State, he's ready for a new challenge.

"I'm at the point in my career here where I feel like I achieved what I can achieve here, and I'm looking to bring my experience, my abilities to another city," he added.

Markert has been married for 22 years, and has two children, one a junior in high school, and the other about to enter college.

Another finalist for Spokane's Police Chief is Dr. Frank Straub, the Director of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis, IN.  He's also the former Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety in White Plains, NY. 

Straub was hired as the Director of Public Safety in Indianapolis in January of 2010, and he's reigning from the post effective August 1, 2012. 

His resignation comes after pressure from the police union and city leaders to do so, reportedly after his handling of a deadly DUI crash involving one of his officers, as well as a $30 million dollar budget shortfall in the city's police and fire departments, and his management style. 

However, after his resignation, he received praise from the Mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, for bringing the homicide rates in Indianapolis to the lowest levels in 15 years, and providing security for a very successful Super Bowl. 

Straub declined our request for an interview in recent weeks, and when we re-contacted his office today, our calls were not returned. 

But we did reach Indianapolis Fox 59 Reporter Russ McQuaid, who told KHQ about Straub's record – and reputation – within the community. 

"He was a reformer with a national reputation, who was brought in to update a police department that was somewhat in disarray, and in some ways he was successful in pushing for some changes, and in some ways, not entirely of his doing, there were some stumbling blocks," McQuaid said. 

Straub has a national reputation, and high-profile connections, including NYC Commissioner Ray Kelly, and former LAPD Chief William Bratton. 

"There were some parts of the community that appreciated his style and his efforts," he added.  "But he did not enjoy a positive relationship with members of the police department, who felt that sometimes his attempts were heavy-handed to reform the department and discipline officers." 

Straub was also a finalist for the police chief position in Hartford, Connecticut.

The forth finalist is Blair Ulring, a retired Police Chief of the City of Stockton, Calif. 

It was just last month when Stockton, California became the largest city in the country to file for bankruptcy. It's been a tough time, recently they had to cut about a hundred officers, nearly a quarter of their staff. That department was run by Spokane Police Chief finalist Blair Ulring.  

Scott Smith with "The Record," the newspaper based out of Stockton, California, told KHQ Local News that the department is "fractured" and recently they've been through a very "difficult time." Several of his employees faced a serious pay cut and a hit to their compensation packages. Ulring did too. Last August he resigned, but a day later he was named Interim Chief of the department he just left. Newspaper columns went after him for double dipping as he was receiving his paycheck and retirement pension at the same time.  

Ulring served as Interim Chief until February when he retired, at least for a few months. Currently he is also a finalist for the Police Chief job in Omaha and recently made it to the final two for the same position in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Ulring served in the Stockton Police Department for 28 years. When he took the police chief job he promised to stay for five years, he only lasted for two. According to his resume he has also served as a field, S.W.A.T., traffic and a school resource officer. He has received numerous honors throughout his career including one in 1988 where he was named "Officer Of The Year."

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