August 11, 2005 Albany-- One of the Police Chiefs who helped recommend Troy Conley to lead the Dougherty County school police force said today he would have looked closer at other candidates-- had he known Conley's degree came from a diploma mill.
Sylvester Police Chief Tony Strenth was one of five Georgia chiefs on the interview panel. Thursday, he told WALB he didn't realize Columbus University, where Conley got a degree, was an on-line college that the U. S. Department of Education says isn't properly accredited.
All five of the chiefs ranked Conley as one of the top two applicants.
School system attorney Tommy Coleman says Conley never misrepresented his education or concealed where he received his degree. "I think that Superintendent and the Board were relying on the fact that Mr. Conley received an outstanding rating from each of these five chiefs. As a matter of fact, he was the only person who was on the list of the top two candidates by every one of the evaluators. So I think the Board is totally capable of looking at the totality of his qualifications and choosing what they felt was the best candidate for it."
Monday is Conley's first day as the School system's police chief.
Conley's first responsiblity will be hiring 16 new officers to serve of the school's security force. We tried to call the other four chiefs on the interview panel, but haven't heard from them yet.