PERRY, Ga. — In January of 2020, 33 rookie Georgia State Patrol troopers from across the state were fired, accused of cheating. Last week, 32 of them were cleared.
Attorney Eric Gay in Bainbridge says he's part of a team of four attorneys from across the state representing 28 of the fired troopers.
"We wanted their names cleared out the gate. Obviously, the longer this has gone on, the needs of our clients have changed," he says.
"Now we want to rectify the monetary aspects of it because they had careers they wanted, and some of them wanted these careers since they were kids, and it got chopped out from under them," says Gay.
The cheating scandal set off a domino effect.
Of those fired, six troopers were at posts here in Central Georgia -- two from the Perry post, two from Cordele, one in Milledgeville, and another in Americus.
Days later, both public safety commissioner Mark McDonough and state Deputy Lieutenant Colonel Russell Powell stepped down. Gay says he thinks new leadership works in their favor.
"The state is working very hard to rectify this and we're giving them the benefit of that. They are definitely doing what they can with this new administration at the top of the command staff up at DPS," he says.
Gay says clients who have been cleared can now apply for law enforcement positions across the state, and the state will determine if they can also reapply for their GSP positions once again.
Mike Ayers, director of the Georgia Police Officer Standards and Training Council, said their investigation did not clear one of the 33 troopers and two instructors at the state trooper academy.