According to Pennsylvania State Police commissioner Tyree Blocker, 29 cadets have left the Police Academy in light of a cheating scandal, some were dismissed and some left voluntarily when faced with an internal probe. Blocker told the media February 4th that a comprehensive investigation was underway after agency staff suspected as many as 40 cadets of cheating on written exams.
The Pennsylvania State Police are one of the largest police bodies in the United States. They employee 6,000 people as uniformed or civilian personnel.
The cadets in the 144th class have been studying since September in a six month training course. Graduation is just three weeks away. After almost a third of the class was thrown out for cheating, nearly 70 cadets remain and are scheduled to graduate mid-March.
Blocker would not describe the method of cheating, but does say the agency is now reviewing the testing methodology. Sources say that cadets were either sharing tests or passing around test results from former cadets. A cheat sheet was found by a staff member during a round of testing in December, said an anonymous source.
Someone familiar with the police academy’s practices told PennLive that the tests do not change from year to year.
It is uncertain whether any current police officers helped the cadets to acquire test answers or assisted them in distributing them. Blocker assured state senators that anyone will face consequences if this their involvement is discovered.
The CSMonitor compares the scandal in Pennsylvania with two other recent police academy scandals:
In April 2015, a former academy instructor exposed a cheating scandal at the Atlanta Police Academy in a statement. The statement detailed violations of rules for 25 recruits and two officers and outlined incidents of cheating during the firearms/use of deadly force written test, according to Channel 2 Action News Atlanta.
The Atlanta scandal followed a 2013 scandal at the Washington State Police Academy. Two recruits said that cadets had been using an unauthorized study guide with answers and questions on written tests. Officers in previous years may have used the guide to pass tests. Two classes of students in 2013 were forced to take an additional rewritten test to graduate, according to Seattle-based KOMO News.