Friday, March 11, 2011

MPOETC Justice

The other shoe has dropped in the police re-certification cheating scandal. Up to 12 cops from a half dozen local departments have been notified that they have been de-certified, which means they can't legally work as police officers in Pennsylvania.

The investigation has taken more than a year and most, if not all, the local cops in question have been represented by FOP lawyer Skip Miller.

I talked to him about this back in December when there was a rumor circulating that the cops would be decertified before Christmas.

In explaining the case, Miller downplayed the importance of the test and the reason it is given. He said the exercise isn’t really about testing what a cop knows about doing his job, but how well the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission does its training.

According to Miller, MPOETC’s stated goal for giving the test is to “be sure their curriculum is correctly presented.” In other words, the test is more for the teachers than it is for the students. (Of course, the problem with that line of argument is that if the students cheat, it deprives the test givers the chance to achieve their goal of knowing how well they presented the subject matter.)

Miller added that if a cop fails the test, he can take it again and again and again until he passes it. So why cheat on it?

I don't know, but laziness sounds about right.

Miller said there is no definitive proof that any "his guys" actually cheated or intended to cheat on the exam. But MPOETC came to a different conclusion.

The agency's only stated function is to certify and re-certify police officers across the state, supposedly to take sure they have the most up-to-date training required by law. MPOETC's testing procedure may be a joke, but that doesn't mean cops can send each other the answers to the tests in advance of taking them, any more than we are allowed to drive 85 m.p.h. on the Blue Route.

The difference is if we do get caught speeding, we get a ticket. We don't have our livelihoods taken away from us. And yet MPOETC makes it quite clear in it's rules and regulations, cheating is grounds for de-certification.

From MPOETC's website:
Revocation of certification.

(a) The Commission maintains the right to revoke certification after notice and an opportunity to be heard under Subchapter G (relating to notice and hearings) for one or more of the following:

(1) Failure to maintain employment as a police officer under the act.

(2) Failure to maintain first aid or CPR certification.

(3) Failure to qualify with firearms as specified in the Commission newsletter.

(4) Failure to successfully complete annual mandatory in-service training as specified in the Commission newsletter.

(5) Physical or psychological impairment which renders the officer permanently unable to perform his duties.

(6) Conviction for a disqualifying criminal offense.

(7) Submission to the Commission of a document that the police officer knows contains false information including fraudulent application.

(8) A certification issued in error.

(9) Cheating.
Some officers have already lost their jobs over this. It looks like more are on the way out as well.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have mixed thoughts on the Cheating-Gate situation. On the one hand, as the Spencerblog post states, the purpose of the exam is to determine how well the instructors presented the information. On the other hand, one of the reasons for possible decertification is cheating. It is hard to believe that the Commission took this much time, and so many, many Commonwealth resources to reach its conclusion without having strong grounds for their conclusions. So although the test may have nothing to do with the knowledge which the officers possess, it is what it is. And if those involved shared answers to the test with others, it is cheating. If an officer is willing to cheat on a BS exam, is he willing to also cheat on the probable cause for an arrest? Perhaps that is why the cheating item appears in the list of warranted decertification... Is a cheater a cheater or is a cheater to be excused only because the recertification exam is not important? Cheating is a character flaw. No doubt about it. I learned as a cadet at PMC back in the old days: When health is lost, something is lost. When wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When character is lost, all is lost.

March 11, 2011 at 7:56 PM 
Blogger Jo said...

Good riddance to rubbish. I hope they don't waste more of our money by replacing these substandard cops with more of the same. Cops are taught to lie as part of the job. They lie all the time in order to trick people into telling them things. Of COURSE they are all liars. That's why they got the job to begin with. DOes this surprise you? What is surprising is that they didn't get promoted. I bet they all still get their pay and benefits.

March 13, 2011 at 3:00 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to say but everyone has something bad to say, But most of these Police Officer know you and your children and has helped you, I feel that they are doing there jobs now and they have been a cops for more than a year, leave it be. THEY KNOW OUR STREET, you are going to put new cops out that don't know the streets our children or us,Have you looked around you later, our cities have gone BAD. that can be the new TV Movie cities street gone Bad/wild.

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