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Office of Inspector General Releases Report on State Police Academy; Makes Recommendations to Prevent Future Cheating & Improve Instruction

02/03/2017

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 3, 2017

Harrisburg, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General (OIG) released today a report that found evidence of cadet cheating, problems with training and testing, and misconduct by instructors at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy (PSP). On March 16, 2016, the PSP requested that the OIG conduct an investigation into allegations of cheating in the 144th Cadet Class, inadequacy and ineffectiveness in academy training and testing, and instructor misconduct.

The OIG’s subsequent investigation was one of the largest in the agency’s 29-year history. Eight OIG investigators worked full-time on the project for months, logging about 8,160 investigative work hours. They traveled more than 8,840 miles throughout the Commonwealth and conducted more than 105 interviews of graduated, dismissed and resigned cadets; current and former academy staff; PSP command staff; current and former troopers; and others. Ultimately, the investigation included more than 16,195 pages of interview transcripts, PSP training materials, study guide examples, academy personnel information and other data.

“Our charge in conducting this investigation was not to rule on the merits of the individual dismissed cadets’ cases but to take a comprehensive and independent look at the academy’s instruction and testing methods to determine what factors may have contributed to any misconduct uncovered and to make recommendations to address our findings,” Inspector General Bruce R. Beemer said. “The state police was fully cooperative in the investigation and, indeed, has already made changes and improvements to some of the shortcomings we identified.”

Beemer also noted the OIG is making “Academic Cheating within the Pennsylvania State Police 144th Cadet Class” public as part of Gov. Wolf’s commitment to transparency in government.

The investigation concluded that the academy created an environment that allowed cheating to occur because instructors provided cadets with answers to test questions and did not often change the content of tests. The OIG referred to PSP – and PSP adjudicated – three incidents of potential racist, discriminatory or other problematic activity at the academy.

The OIG’s recommendations include that the academy should institute computer-based testing with random questions, instructors should be prohibited from sharing questions and answers with cadets before tests, an Academy Instructor Manual should be produced as soon as possible and instructors should be evaluated frequently and have term limits.

The OIG’s report, the PSP’s response to the report, and the OIG’s reply, is online at: https://www.oig.pa.gov/Documents/PSP%20Investigative%20Report%20Released%20(2)%20(OIG-16-0043-I).pdf.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Lyon, 717-783-7756

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