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Cobb County Police Training Cheat Scandal

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EMS Dispatcher
Jul 8, 2002
Cobb County, GA
Cobb County Police (Ga.) recruits caught cheating:


An entire class of Cobb County police recruits was fired Monday after they cheated on a test, authorities said.

"Not much shocks me after 35 years in this business, but I was shocked," said Mickey Lloyd, Cobb's public safety director.

A police academy instructor caught two recruits comparing answers during a written exam last week, Lloyd said. After the academy alerted Lloyd on Friday, he ordered an inquest and soon learned that all 20 recruits had cheated, he said.

Most of the recruits admitted to cheating when asked about it, Lloyd said.

"They'd gotten together and decided none of them was going to fail," said Lloyd.

It's not clear how the recruits cheated, though Lloyd said they did not steal the test.

The news "dismayed" Cobb County Commissioner Helen Goreham, but she praised the swift response in drumming out the recruits suspected of cheating.

"Integrity with our police officers is something we do not skimp on," said Goreham, the commissioners' public safety liaison. "The level of service our officers provide the citizenry is top-notch. We will not tolerate an incident of this type."

Investigators do not plan to file criminal charges against any class members — a mix of men and women of various backgrounds — but they might not ever wear a law enforcement badge in Georgia, Lloyd said.

Authorities did not release the recruits' names.

Cobb officials plan to report the dismissals to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which oversees the training and certification of law enforcement officers.

To get into the class, recruits had to have at least a high school diploma and pass a background check as well as psychiatric and polygraph tests — measures intended to weed out certain would-be cops.

"You'd think you'd have the cream of the crop," Lloyd said.

The recruits were county employees training to become sworn police officers. They were in the fifth week of a 22-week training period required to join about 600 officers on Cobb's police force, where salaries start around $34,600.

Instructors stress the importance of honesty with recruits. Police officers are often key witnesses in criminal trials.

"If you cheat, steal or lie, you lose your credibility in court," Lloyd said.

Commission Chairman Sam Olens said, "Our police officers need to be beyond reproach."

Lloyd sounded weary and disappointed Monday but stressed his confidence in Cobb County's thin blue line.

"The Cobb County Police Department is among the best in the state," he said. "There are a lot of fine officers out there. They work hard and they're honest. This had to be done in order to maintain this reputation."

News of the incident was rippling through the police department and county administration Monday.

"Everybody's very disturbed about it," said police spokesman Dana Pierce. "It's a disappointment to all of us."
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