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Investigation clears nearly all Georgia State Patrol troopers in 2020 cheating scandal

Their investigation did not clear one of the 33 troopers and two staff members at the training center.

MACON, Ga. — A state agency has cleared 32 of the 33 rookie state troopers fired last year for cheating on an exam.

Mike Ayers, director of the Georgia Police Officer Standards and Training Council, said they investigated the scandal that led to all 33 being fired.

"We found there was a breakdown in communication at the academy. There was really no intent to deceive or cheat by the vast majority," he said.

An earlier state patrol investigation last year found that an instructor at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth warned the state patrol cadets about the radar-gun test and told them, "Use your resources."

RELATED: 'Hey, it's OK if we do this': Inside the Georgia State Patrol cheating scandal investigative file

Some members of the class interpreted that as permission to collaborate and share answers on the test.

Ayers said their investigation did not clear one of the 33 troopers and two staff members at the training center.

He would not comment on why, saying those three cases are still on appeal.

The scandal broke several months after the 33 cadets graduated and took state-patrol jobs across the state.

RELATED: GSP cheating scandal: Attorney says his client did what he was told

State records say the cheating came to light after one trooper, Demon Clark, admitted that he had a girlfriend take an online test for him.

Clark told investigators that he wasn't the only member of the class who got help and described others who shared answers.

Ayers, whose agency certifies Georgia law-enforcement officers, says the 32 cleared troopers are now free to apply for law-enforcement jobs across the state.

The Georgia State Patrol said the scandal cost them millions of dollars, the cost of training an entire class.

Col. Mark McDonough, head of Georgia's Department of Public Safety, resigned after the scandal, reportedly forced out by Gov. Brian Kemp.

RELATED: Georgia State Patrol cheating scandal cost state nearly $2 million, agency says


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