Was a Fake “Degree” Used To Get the Job As Our New Police Chief?

Mr. Hendricks, your cap and gown are in the mail…

Mr. David Hendricks, currently employed by the Long Beach Police Department was recently tapped to by someone, somewhere, somehow to become our new police chief. Here’s the July 12th press release from the City’s website:

Apart from several obnoxious things about this press release (including the tacit presumption that this recommendation for appointment – that was made by who knows who – will be rubber stamped by the City Council), we will consider the information contained in the final sentence, to wit: a Masters of Public Administration degree from something called “Andrew Jackson University” in Birmingham, Alabama.

The FFFF Academic Accreditation team immediately sprang into action, and what they discovered doesn’t suggest academic accomplishment of any sort. Andrew Jackson University was created by a couple of lawyers in the mid-90s who decided that hardworking folk needed an online opportunity to pursue advanced education. Or so the story went. But those familiar with the for-profit diploma mill industry know the story well: these establishments are created to separate saps from their money, and often to separate taxpayers from unpaid student loans underwritten by the government.

“Knowledge is good” – Emil Faber

Andrew Jackson University – unaccredited by anybody – has now been bought and sold twice since its inception and its “location,” if nothing other than a PO box, has been changed successively from San Francisco to Salt Lake City. It is now called “New Charter University” and is owned by financial investors.

FFFF reached out to knowledgeable experts in this field to learn more about such institutions.

Erasmus Alberus, Professor Emeritus of Academic Ethics at the University of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan told FFFF “these institutions exist merely to give the impression that those who have paid the requisite tuition have attained some sort of academic accomplishment. They haven’t. The purpose is to enhance career and income possibilities through this impression.”

Even more scathing was the assessment of Sabrina Plath, Director of Professional Development at the Thorstein Veblen Center in Valparaiso, Indiana. Says Ms. Plath: It is an ongoing scandal how mail order diplomas are used to leverage career promotion, and salary and benefit enhancement, especially at the expense of the public.”

And so these questions remain to be answered: who was impressed enough by a graduate of Andrew Jackson University that he is recommended for hire as our new police chief with salary and benefits approaching $300,000 a year? Was this laughable non-degree from a phony academic institution a material fact in his selection? Did anybody even care?

Good luck trying to find out. But if you care about this, and if you care about the fact that a press release announced this recommendation before the City Council even decided on a candidate, go to the meeting on the 18th and enjoy the fun.

90 Replies to “Was a Fake “Degree” Used To Get the Job As Our New Police Chief?”

  1. Fake accomplishments used to get jobs with no accountability. That sounds about right.

  2. Anybody who gets a degree from Andrew Jackson University is bound to help Fullerton avoid a civil war. I’m sure Mr. Hendricks is very, very tough and also has a very, very big heart, believe me!

  3. Chief Michael Sellers was a fraud. Chief Danny Hughes was a fraud (and a criminal.) This new guy is just trying to fit in. Nice of the council to be so accommodating.

  4. Atleast Hendricks got his bachelor’s degree at CSU Long Beach. But for $300,000 annual salary to lead the FPD, the police force with the international nefarious reputation, who is expected to turn this police force into a sterling example of policing by protecting the community, not murdering its members, the good people of Fullerton, and that phrase obviously excludes some members of Fullerton’s city council, deserve a person who is intelligent, educated, and ethical, and has applied these qualities to police work, not someone who has done time on a police force.
    Speaking of dubious degrees, Rusty Kennedy, executive director of Orange County Human Relations Commission and admirer of retired Fullerton Police Chief Pat McKinley, got his bachelor’s degree at Johnston College, an experimental, experiential college started in the 1960’s and few decades later no longer exists. I wonder if Rusty Kennedy supports Hendricks and hopes tomhave him serve on his human relations board, just like he did with Pat McKinley.
    The good people of Fullerton need to clean up their town by running off imposters who only desire to gourge themselves at the public trough.

  5. Wasn’t Jane Rands on the applicant review committee? Maybe she can explain this phony academic credential.

    1. Yes I was on the panel. Unfortunately, we were given the names and resumes of the applicants when we arrived to conduct the interviews. There was no opportunity to review them in advance.

      Upon reviewing the resumes, for which we had very little time and we had many interruptions, I was able to read the name of the institution. However, being unfamiliar with the institution listed, I did not know that it was not an accredited university.

      I fully expected that during the months of vetting by staff and consultants that reduced the number of candidates to only three they would have at a minimum reviewed the legitimacy of the degrees in their resumes.

      While it is disconcerting that his degree may be from a sham institution for the purpose of fulfilling requirements on paper, I think experience is more pertinent when judging his ability to do the job. That is something he does have in spades.

      I’m not making excuses here but rather would like to expose the limitations within the process.

      1. Really, Jane? That’s what you want to go with?

        I completely agree that experience is more important than education (in every endeavor). But involving ones self with a sham educational institution in the first place and exploiting it for career promotion goes directly to the issues of integrity and character, two qualities sadly lacking in our police chiefs for at least 25 years.

        As for his experience all I can say is that you were most likely told to avoid certain question that were deemed off limits by somebody. McKinley had scads of “experience;” so did Sellers and Hughes. See where I’m going with this?

        Exposing the limits of the process? WTF? Waht would be the point of that? Let’s expose the limits of the nominee and challenge our usually worthless council to do the right thing.

        1. Jane,
          Sadly, the authors of this piece seem to have fabricated information in order to sway their readers. As far as I can tell very little of what they are saying is true. Andrew Jackson and in turn New Charter University is a fully accredited university. They have been accredited by DEAC (recognized by the Department of Education) since 1991. In addition, they are members of NC-SARA and fully licensed and approved in the state of Utah. Please check out the official sites for substantiation.

          1. Well. Amie, you’ve got to go to bat for the Mill, but seriously? When Andrew Jackson University ever accredited by a REAL accreditation institution, like this one?:


            A rigorous process takes years to complete.

            1. You know, she makes a point, however I would like to know when “Andrew Jackson University” received a stamp of approval from anybody.

            2. Some other fine institutions “accredited” by DEAC

              Anaheim University
              Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development
              College of Court Reporting
              Gemological Institute of America
              Hypnosis Motivation Institute
              International Import Export Institute
              Modern Gun School
              REALTOR University
              University of the People
              Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential

              No, not a diploma mill at all! These are real degrees! Paper printed and everything!

              1. ROTFL, any fake university or diploma mill will send you a “real printed degree”. You just have to pay. Which is exactly what University of the people does. They are based in Israel and Africa, but have a fake address in California and claim to be “American”. LOL, nice scam.

                1. We want to assure you that University of the People is a legitimate nonprofit online university licensed by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education of the State of California (BPPE), and accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC). The very fact that the university received accreditation from the DEAC, is a clear indication of the quality and high level of our institution. We have partnerships with distinguished academic institutions such as UC Berkeley, and New York University, and the people making up our academic leadership are from the top universities such as Columbia, Harvard, and Yale. Regarding your comment about paying; as we state on our website, social media pages, and everywhere else, we are and will remain tuition-free, meaning students will never be charged for their educational instruction, course materials or annual enrollment. For more information about UoPeople please visit: https://www.uopeople.edu/about/”

      2. Oh c’mon. You didn’t pick up on the smell that emanated from “Andrew Jackson University?”

      3. It sounds to me like the process you were involved with was a just a dog-and-pony show meant to look like citizen participation. If you really want to expose the “the process” there must be a reason. What is it if not to discredit the product?

        May I suggest you contact Whitaker, Sebourn and Silva immediately with you concerns.

      4. in light of the horrific, recent history of the Fullerton PD, no one questioned the validity of an obscure university in another state on the resume of a candidate for Fullerton’s police chief? If Kelly Thomas were still alive, I am sure he would tell you the moral integrity of Fullerton’s police chief is a very important trait. Using a pay the fee get a B university to give the impression of academic rigour, when it is not there says this candidate is immoral. The good people of Fullerton deserve better from you and others on the vetting panel.

      5. “months of vetting by staff and consultants”
        Okay, so fair question: How much did we pay staff and consultants for their time, and why would any of them not see a suspect university and red tag it. I’m not saying that having a degree from an unaccredited university makes a person less fit for the job, but the decision to pursue one from one of these institutions points to wanting to take a shortcut for expediency as opposed to going through a much more rigorous academic process at an accredited university –of which we are in no short supply of here in So Cal.

        What bothers me is that it’s obvious that neither the city staff or the consultants see or care about this distinction. Then I wonder, how many of your staffers and consultants themselves have freeway degrees from unaccredited universities?

  6. How long would it have taken HR or any single city council member to Google “Andrew Jackson University?” These people aren’t even putting in the bare minimum of effort to protect us.

    1. Absolutely goddam right. I am so sick of lazy politicians and even lazy “volunteers” deferring to the bureacrats every time. If you can’t stand up when it counts don’t raise your hand in the first place.

      If Whitaker won’t get up off his ass on this one a lot of people will be done with him. Bruce loves discourse on liberal conspiracies but when the chips are down he has long since folded his hand, waiting for the next deal in which the same scenario will be repeated.

      1. It’s not laziness if you just don’t care. Nobody wants to look into someone else’s ‘qualifications’, because there but for the grace of etc., etc.

        1. The school was, and is, nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. The Accrediting Commission of DEAC is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Found in two seconds on the website. Everyone here that says the city was too lazy to check, didn’t check themselves.

          1. You want to leap into the breach to defend an institution of higher learning owned by venture capitalists? Reall?

            1. Those schools require you to at least show up, do the work and demonstrate some sort of competency before a degree is conferred. Why work for it when the city will kick up your pay for a fake degree?

          2. “Everyone here that says the city was too lazy to check, didn’t check themselves.”

            Did Andrew Jackson University have any matriculation requirements for its “MPA”? Were there any undergraduate requirements? Did one have to take the GRE?

            Scam central. HR staff didn’t check or didn’t care that this was a mail order degree. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is worse.

          3. Everyone here who has gone through the rigors of academia, knows there’s a difference between an accredited university and a Freeway U.
            There have been problems with accountability with accrediting boards such as the DEAC, and their lack of oversight with for-profit universities:

            “As a federally recognized accreditor, DEAC must prove that it holds all its colleges to the same standards on student outcomes. Yet the agency does not collect much information on performance and, as a result, largely operates in an information vacuum.
            To make matters worse, the agency has low graduation standards. For example, to be deemed successful by DEAC, a college must have a graduation rate above 32 percent in distance education. This level of performance is not acceptable, particularly with little information on student success after enrollment.”
            -Center for American Progress, “Accreditors Must Prioritize Student Outcomes in Measuring College Quality,” March 2017

    2. Public employees know better than to investigate fellow ( present or future) Staff brethren . They just have to check the retirement accounts to avoid pension envy within the departments.

  7. Even is “Andrew Jackson University” were a real school how useful would an MPA sold from a mail order school in Alabama be to someone working in California government?

  8. I would like to encourage each of you to please attend and speak at City Council tomorrow night.

    1. Better yet, why don’t you speak to the legitimate concerns of the previous posters about your participation, or lack thereof, in the police chief selection vetting process. Let’s start there.

        1. Disclosure of the process. Hmm.

          Sorry, Jane, but asking for “disclosure of the process” will take you IMMEDIATELY to a dead end: blank stares all around, you thank them for the opportunity to address them, and then they move on. You will have accomplished nothing – not even a little self respect after having been played in a “process” that was no more honest than a magician’s card trick.

          The product of the process, as noted above is the problem. Knock down the product and the process goes down with it. Of course you may be happy with the outcome – just so long as the process isn’t qustioned anymore. It will be.

    2. This is less about the man, than it is about the lax vetting process and prioritization of candidates of the city staff and the highly paid consultants.

      1. Actually, it’s about both. What kind of man gets a degree from Andrew Jackson University? The kind who takes shortcuts to get benefits and hopes nobody finds out.

  9. ” I think experience more pertinent when judging his ability to do the job. ” How quaint, Jane. Your comment harkens President Andrew Jackson’s the common man where any man with an axe may hew a nation from the wilderness( and using an axe on pesky native Americans who got in the way of hewing(?) a nation). But murderous Fullerton PD doesnt live in the early 1800’s. It lives in the 21st century, a much more sophisticated era than than approx. 200 years ago. And our era demands extensive knowledge and experience from a candidate who wants to lead the long arm of the law whose hand holds guns, tasers, clubs, and keys to the jail. The power police now wield over the populace demands a leader who thoroughly understands the human condition, history of humanity and its current state and foresees the consequences of his/her policing philosophy evidenced in words and actions(policies). No more desk jockeys who hide behind a doctor’s coat when your force tortures an innocent man to death in full view of the public (Sellers), no more bedroom city commandos who seek to recreate their LAPD attack on suspected militant, black men in the 1970’s by hiring rogue cops who romp and stomp on the good people of Fullerton, and tell the public that drunk women arrested by FPD are different and thus ok to be molested by Fullerton police officer(McKinley). So Jane, if you see just time served on a police force as sterling qualifications to lead the nefarious Fullerton PD into a serve and protect thengood people of Fullerton, then maybe you should end your time and service on the panel,that decides who Fullerton’s next police chief.

  10. I’m just going to float this out there.
    There are so many ways to get an advanced degree. Online, through extension courses, certification programs, and even in person at marginally accredited institutions. But those who decide to take this path, know that it’s a less rigorous path, and they’re doing it only to advance their career. This isn’t to say that someone going through the much more tedious path of full academia isn’t, but there’s some other drive pushing them other than going up a paygrade. There has to be, otherwise they would’t put up with being so poor for so long, and putting up with all shorts of bullshit.
    So the question is should the public accept a Master’s degree from an online university or one with a less than stellar reputation and pay this person as though they stood on the same terra firma as someone from a USC, UCLA? My answer is no. We shouldn’t. Because the glut of Master’s degrees is meaningless if you indiscriminately reward them all, not really upholding any standards. The need that has been created for everyone to get a Master’s is all based on career advancement, and doesn’t really contribute much to the field of study.
    I wonder how many city employees have these degrees, and how many teachers have gone on to get a Master’s degree from one? I’ve been asked to review several “papers,” and I can tell you, their writing skills are abysmal. My gut instinct is that there are many. I think we need to set standards and stick to them.

    1. Another 100% agreement. MPAs at CSU are already easy enough to get if you put in some time. Getting a “degree” from a phony “university” shows laziness and comfort fooling people into thinking you really earned something. Or even worse, you are so dumb you don’t know the difference – which though plausible seems highly unlikely.

      Oh well. McKinley, Sellers, Hughes. Looks like we’re stuck with another dishonest chief.

      1. I think it’s an issue worth looking into and discussing. I once heard a teacher say she was getting a MA in Education from U of Phoenix because it didn’t matter where she got it. It was a piece of paper, and it would avail her of several good opportunities including a pay raise. As a taxpayer, I’m not really interested in supporting mediocrity, and that’s not only the individual’s choice to go through a paper mill, but also paper mills themselves, which just lack accountability and cause a lot of people to rack up student debt.
        It’s sort of like that candidate from Diamond Bar, who inferred that she’d been to Harvard, when in fact, she completed some sort of online certification course run through its extension program. Which brings me to my next point: Would anyone who has gone to the John F. Kennedy School of Gov’t quit wearing those t-shirts and listing it on their CV? If you only went there for a summer course, stop trying to leave the impression you matriculated with a four-year Baccalaureate or Master’s from Harvard. You didn’t, you fakers.

        1. There is an unsettling trend among electeds or wannabe electeds to fluff up their resumes with phony academic accomplishment. Lots of them do it and they often get caught – with very little repercussion.

          The root cause is a basic insecurity, but it also reveals a casual willingness to dupe the very public whose votes you want. That’s why I would never have voted for Ling Ling Chang, whose resume was cooked up from top to bottom. The fact that this didn’t bother her Repuglican handlers is disgraceful.

          Our new chief was unanimously supported by our useless council. Why? EAsy. They would rather be part of the Team than do their jobs. Everyone is desperate to be the guy the chief owes his job to. Absolutely pathetic.

          Whitaker and Sebourn are the worst offenders because nobody expected the other three to ever do the right thing.

          1. THAT was her name! It escaped me, but it should be remembered as “Ling Ling Chang, the person who tried to give the impression she went to Harvard, but went to its extension instead.”
            I think inflated degrees are everywhere, and the situation is made worse because companies often help pay for them. So, it’s entirely possible for someone to get an MBA from Pepperdine at night after work, online, or classes taken during lunchtime. But there’s no way it can compare with an MBA from Wharton or Stanford taken in person. The truth is that in most jobs, you really don’t need a Master’s degree or a PhD. Most require you to work diligently for a number of years, gain experience, and work your way up whatever ladder is set before you. But then things get messed up when people start tossing for-profit university degrees and demanding raises.
            I think, in this city, this is a discussion that needs to be had.

            1. You would be surprised how many top (and fantastically paid) managers at the County have “masters” degrees from places like The University of Phoenix. And the they have the gall to brag about it!

  11. I was sorry to see so little participation on this item at the City Council Meeting Tuesday night. I appreciate that Sean Paden and David Curlee presented their concerns before the City Council.

    While HR Ditector Gretchen Beatty responded to my questions about the process and Curlee’s concern about the Hendrick’s degree, it was disappointing that the Council did not follow up on Paden’s questions about IA findings and discipline within the LBPD.

  12. “…it was disappointing that the Council did not follow up on Paden’s questions about IA findings and discipline within the LBPD.”

    Good Heavens, woman. Where have you been for the past 5 years? No one has been accountable to anyone in Fullerton since the summer of 2012.

    1. Those shitty wooden stairs lone should have gotten someone fired. But that’s government and this is Fullerton. Shitty is good enough – just so long as campaign contributing consultants get their payola. Yes, I’m talking to you, Griffin Structures.

      1. At home, watching “Lost” on Netflix and realizing the Futility of Fullerton.

        Please tell me what my presence there would have done except completely wasted my time?

          1. No, what earns me the “right’ to bitch and moan is being a free citizen.

            I don’t even have to be a voter, let alone waste my time going to a meeting and watching Whitaker & Co. pick up their $800 a month after having done nothing to earn a penny of it.

            1. Yes, it is your “right” to do nothing and to complain that other’s are inadequate.

              i just prefer to do something.

              I know that’s not what YOU want me to do.

              But is my right.

    1. The satisfaction of bitching and moaning.

      What satisfaction did you get out of “questioning the process?” If you like talking to a room of people who couldn’t care less what you have you say, you might as well stay home and talk to yourself in the laundry room.

  13. Whatever makes you happy.

    But in all honestly, you don’t sound very happy. You sound miserable.

    1. I wish you had put as much energy investigating your candidate as you did responding on this thread.

      P.S. I never said I was happy.

  14. Right back at you, regarding time on this thread. (I am very happy, unlike you.)

    But I don’t know how you would have been able to investigate the candidates for COP anymore than I unless you had insider access to find out who they were prior to the interviews. We did not know until minutes before the interviews began.

    That’s why the process was the root of the problem; not the members of the community panel.

    1. “That’s why the process was the root of the problem; not the members of the community panel.”

      No one ever said the community panel was the “root” of the problem, now did they? However, the community panel members certainly permitted themselves to be manipulated, resulting in a recommended candidate who bought a bogus degree on-line and proudly put it on his resume. Hell, it even made the press release. Your first excuse was that the guy had lots of experience anyhow, to which a small chorus reminded you that the phony academic credential has allowed this guy to get unearned promotions and and raises.

      Apart from the value of a degree, fake or otherwise, the real question goes to the man’s integrity; and for some reason you and your fellow citizens passed this guy on the rest of us.

      You may be “happy” because you gave a thought to closing the stable door long after Mr. Hendricks crossed the finish line and took the blue ribbon. Well, God bless you for that. I’m not going to.

      1. I think Jane is trying to say that this committee (or whatever it was) had candidates dumped on it without any lead time or ability to ask substantive questions – and that the process needed to be explained and justified.

        It were me and I had no CV given to me in advance, I’d have told them to shove their candidates where the sun doesn’t shine. If you sit down to a card game knowing you won’t get a fair deal there is little point in complaining later about your bad hand.

    2. “But I don’t know how you would have been able to investigate the candidates…”.
      I have served on hiring panels where the minimum qualifications have been a masters degree and at least five years experience coupled with accomplishments that reflect his/her aptitude to out perform the other candidates in the hoped for position.
      First, if I was only handed three resumes, I would immediately suspect that it,is rigged to only find one out of a mere three candidates to be the only appropriate candidate for Fullerton’s police chief. Second, I would find it very irregular that a candidate who has served many years on a local police force, who got his undergrad degree at an accredited university only ten miles from Fullerton but got his advanced degree that would uniquely qualify him as a police chief from a university in Alabama while working in Long Beach. Figure it out, Jane. You are allowing a rigged hiring of a police chief for an internationally renowned corrupt police force. Where was your moral outrage at this meeting to hire Fullerton’s police chief? Stop pointing the finger at your critics, and do the right thing. You chose to participate on this hiring panel, now introduce ethics into this hiring process. And if you cant stand up to the big boys at good old Fullerton, then pedal yourself to another town council meeting.

    3. You’re happy? Happy about what? Being manipulated as a “useful idiot” by people you don’t even know to validate a choice you don’t understand (let’s ask about the process after it’s over not before it starts!).

      Sorry but you’ll never get my vote next time you run for something.

  15. Yeah, I agree with Joe about the process. Maybe Jane didn’t know she could have told the consultants and city staff to fuck off and start again. Now that she’s seen how the circus runs, perhaps she will next time. So now, we’re stuck with a chief of police who comes in with a Baccalaureate degree (because we just can’t acknowledge his Master’s) and from a police department known for its brutality. He should never mention that Master’s degree again.
    I will agree with Jane on this: It would have been meaningful if more people showed up to give the City Council shit about the guy’s record and their concern about the bogus degree.
    If the group could focus in one getting a group to go to all the meetings and be the same obnoxious but smart and wise folks they are there as they are here, that would be cool. It could be its own Meetup Group for smart malcontents.
    I would also like to point out that this forum with its bitching and moaning DOES and HAS kept people on their toes, striking in a bit of fear and annoyance so that many go away. The bitching and moaning has been full of good points, research, and thoughtful jockeying. I don’t think it can be discounted. People take action in many ways, and bitching and moaning is one of them.

    1. “He should never mention that Master’s degree again.”

      He doesn’t need to. he got what he wanted. But i bet he does. You see, shamelessness is part of the modern cop ethos, particularly in Fullerton, where no wrongdoing is ever admitted let alone atoned for.

      1. Folks
        I don’t expect to change your opinions, but for those who care to know the truth, here are a few websites to look. By the way, I don’t know Chief Hendricks and I don’t know his performance. This is just for the people who read this forum and care to do a little research. Have a nice day folks !!!


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