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'Punch in the gut:' Georgia State Patrol dismisses 30 troopers for cheating on speed exam

The entire graduating class of the 106th Trooper School have been dismissed amid a cheating scandal

ATLANTA — More than two dozen Georgia State Patrol troopers have been dismissed amid an exam cheating scandal.

Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark W. McDonough held a press conference Wednesday in Atlanta to detail the allegations.

McDonough confirmed 30 troopers, all August 2019 graduates of the 106th Trooper School, cheated on an online exam for the speed detection operator component of the Trooper School curriculum.

He said the investigation began in October when a single trooper was disciplined and told officials that it was not an isolated incident.

From there, the investigation went through December as the agency spoke to the remaining troopers from the graduating class and up until the dismissal of the entire class on Wednesday.

McDonough outlined four allegations, sustained by Georgia State Patrol’s investigation, in his news conference:

Allegation 1: Every trooper cheated on speed detection operator exam

Allegation 2: A cadet helped another cadet with their exam

Allegation 3: Three cadets assisted another with their exam

Allegation 4: A training instructor printed a makeup exam and permitted two cadets who failed to take it back to their rooms for studying purposes

McDonough says all the graduates signed an oath to uphold professional conduct and standards, which they violated, leading to the dismissal.

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.

As such, McDonough says he directed POST on Wednesday to do a complete audit of the training department, which could lead to people higher up being disciplined.

A reporter at the press conference asked about speeding tickets and cases being possibly dismissed.

McDonough said they issued a directive to the department when the investigation started that ordered anyone who had a speed timing device in their vehicle to remove it and cease writing tickets.

They also couldn’t radar speed test cars and pass along to other officers further down the road.

Around 133 tickets were written prior to that directive, he said.

Here's a list of the troopers:

  • Erguens Accilien - Post 21 - Sylvania
  • David Allan - Post 6 - Gainesville
  • Jalin Anderson - Post 33 - Milledgeville
  • Erik Austell - Post 15 - Perry
  • Evan Bauza - Post 11 - Hinesville
  • Logan Beck - Post 23 - Brunswick
  • Christopher Cates - Post 27 – Blue Ridge
  • Seferino Chavez - Post 47 – Forest Park
  • Demon Clark - Post 17 - Washington
  • Christopher Cordell - Post 5 - Dalton
  • Clint Donaldson - Post 49 – Motor Unit
  • Eric Guerrero - Post 36 - Douglas
  • Jonathan Hayes - Post 29 - Paulding
  • Nicholas Hawkins - Post 46 - Monroe
  • Bradley Hunt - Post 2 - LaGrange
  • Clarence Johnson - Post 25 - Grovetown
  • Evan Joyner - Post 2 - LaGrange
  • Richard Justice - Post 25 - Grovetown
  • Malcolm Martinez - Post 47 – Forest Park
  • Rebecca Moran - Post 51 - Gwinnett
  • Paul Osuegbu - Post 6 - Gainesville
  • Jose Perez - Post 13 - Tifton
  • Patrick Pollett - Post 25 - Grovetown
  • Troy Pudder - Post 30 - Cordele
  • Caleb Pyle - Post 24 – Newnan
  • Daysi Ramirez - Post 15 - Perry
  • Gabriel Rampy - Post 4 – Villa Rica
  • Adam Salter - Post 26 - Thomaston
  • Jerry Slade - Post 30 - Cordele
  • Kyle Thompson - Post 36 - Douglas
  • James Vaughan - Post 10 - Americus
  • Brian Whelehan - Post 23 - Brunswick
  • Kelley Whitaker - Post 14 - Colquitt

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available.

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