ATLANTA (AP) — An entire graduating class of the Georgia State Patrol’s Trooper School has been fired or resigned amid a cheating scandal, the state’s public safety chief said Wednesday.
At a news conference, Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark W. McDonough confirmed to news outlets that 32 troopers were fired after being accused of cheating on an online exam for the speed detection operator component of the school’s curriculum. One trooper resigned after the cheating allegations came to light. All 33 are August graduates of the 106th Trooper School.
McDonough said the investigation began in October after officials learned about the allegations from the girlfriend of one of the cadets, who said she took the online test for him. When confronted about that, the trooper told superiors “He was not the only one who cheated, the whole class cheated,” and that’s when the decision was made to investigate the entire class.
McDonough said State Patrol’s investigation confirmed four allegations: every trooper cheated on speed detection operator exam; a cadet helped another cadet with their exam; three cadets assisted another with their exam; and a training instructor printed a makeup exam and permitted two cadets who failed to take it back to their rooms for studying purposes
McDonough said all the graduates signed an oath to uphold professional conduct and standards, which they violated, leading to Wednesday’s dismissals. He added that the troopers used typed notes, received direct assistance and utilized test questions and answers on GroupMe and on a website that aggregates tests. He also said they used two Snapchat groups to facilitate the cheating and get their stories straight as the investigation was ongoing.
McDonough said he’s ordered a complete audit of the training department, which could lead to people higher up being disciplined.