The Pennsylvania State Police Academy has been hit with a major cheating scandal. So far 29 cadets have been expelled from the academy, mere weeks from graduation. Preliminary reports indicate quite a few of the prospective troopers attempted to cheat their way through the course. Apparently, there seems to be some severe discrepancies in the way tests were conducted leaving the entire process vulnerable.
An ongoing investigation into a major cheating scandal at the Pennsylvania State Police academy has resulted in the eviction of 29 cadets so far. The force’s commander confirmed the dismissal and added that the class was just three weeks shy of graduation. Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker added that there’s a probe underway into the academy’s 144th graduating class. However, he chose not divulge any more details, saying that an investigation is ongoing,
“We’re working very diligently at bringing some closure to the investigation. However, I want to be clear. We will not leave any stone unturned when it comes to the integrity of the Pennsylvania State Police. We won’t tolerate anyone who lies, cheats or steals. The public has, and rightfully so, an expectation that members of the State Police have the highest integrity and I am insistent on that.”
The 144th graduating class at Pennsylvania State Police Academy had a strength of nearly 100 candidates. About 70 cadets remain in the class now and they are scheduled to graduate in mid-March, reported CBS Pittsburgh. Incidentally, not all of the 29 cadets that left were dismissed. Some of the would-be troopers resigned.
It is presently not clear who was dismissed, but Blocker did brief state senators during an Appropriations Committee hearing on the status of the 29 cadets.
“Agency officials believe they have very sound investigative information that indicates that those individuals were a party to what’s being described as a cheating scandal.”
Though the details of the cheating scandal haven’t been released, Penn Live reported that a “cheat sheet” had been discovered. Citing unnamed sources, the publication reported that at the academy, “some of the test materials haven’t changed between classes.”
It takes more than six months to prepare the cadets to shoulder the responsibility of a trooper. During these months, cadets at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy are subjected to a barrage of written tests. It appears many of the tests were merely re-administered without being altered. In other words, tests that had been taken by a different batch, was merely served up again. This is a severe lapse which allows for a “possible vulnerability in the process,” reported the Washington Post.
Questions still remain if the instance of cheating remained localized, or if it has a much broader scope. The cheating scandal came to light after academy staff discovered the anomalies. However, it appears the internal affairs unit had been conducting a “full and comprehensive” investigation since the beginning of this month. Blocker promised that the agency was reviewing the testing methodology, but did not divulge the exact manner in which the cadets cheated.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time police cadets have been caught up in a cheating scandal. Two other state police academies have experienced similar cheating scandals in the recent past, reported The Christian Science Monitor. In 2013, Washington State Patrol recruits were accused of cheating at the academy. Then in April, 2015, a former academy instructor exposed a cheating scandal at the Atlanta Police Academy. It seems during some of the instances, it was observed that the recruits weren’t necessarily cheating, but had exchanged study material which gave them a competitive edge.
The Pennsylvania State Police has more than 6,000 uniformed and civilian personnel. This makes it one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. Any changes in the testing procedures would certainly have far-reaching ramifications.
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