The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office completed discipline hearings for seven deputies that were placed on paid administrative leave last week amid allegations of cheating on an online test.
One supervisor resigned while under investigation before a discipline hearing could be scheduled.
Investigator Lendon McCoy, Investigator Jennifer Perry, Investigator Tracy Radford, Investigator Grote Levett and Investigator Travus Blevins received a disciplinary demotion to the rank of Certified Sheriff’s Deputy I and were transferred from the Criminal Investigations Bureau to the Field Services Bureau.
All five of these deputies also received a 10-day suspension without pay and are required to attend remedial training in a classroom setting for Ethics and Professionalism and for Legislative and Case Law Update.
They will eventually be able to get back to the level of investigator, but it’s not guaranteed, says RCSO spokesperson Sergeant Andrew Arnold.
“They would have to go through the same promotional process as they did before,” he said.
Investigator Eddie Wilson was terminated due to his involvement in unethical activity and an additional founded allegation that he was non-truthful during the internal affairs investigation.
After the internal affairs investigation began, it was determined that Certified Sheriff’s Deputy II David Wegemer was also involved in unethical activity during the same incident. Wegemer was terminated from employment due to his involvement in the situation, for insubordination and for being non-truthful during the internal affairs investigation.
The RCSO completed discipline hearings on Sept. 10.
Corporal Shawn Edenfield resigned while under investigation during the internal affairs investigation before a discipline hearing could be scheduled. The unethical allegations were founded against Edenfield along with a founded allegation of being non-truthful during the investigation.
“It is unfortunate that poor decisions were made and three employees are no longer employed by the RCSO,” said Sheriff Eric Levett in a press release. “I will not tolerate cheating and have zero-tolerance for any level of untruthfulness from RCSO employees.”
All terminations, demotions and disciplinary action relating to this internal affairs investigation have been reported to the Rockdale County District Attorney’s Office and to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
“I want to commend the Sergeant that brought this issue to the attention of the command staff,” said Levett. “The citizens of Rockdale County deserve the highest level of professionalism and integrity in their law enforcement officers. Now, we will pick up and move forward with our continued efforts to fight crime and make Rockdale County safe.”
The internal affairs investigation is still active relating to this incident and should be closed within the next week.
On Sept. 3, seven RCSO investigators were placed on leave so the RCSO could investigate allegations of cheating on an online test.
The test was for an online class on 2014 changes to state law, a class given every year after the Georgia General Assembly Session, explained RCSO Chief Deputy Scott Freeman. The class is part of annual training given by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and required for certified law enforcement. The test can be taken anywhere there is internet access. Those who fail the test have to retake the three-hour class and take the test again.
According to Freeman, a deputy learned the answers to the test had been written down and passed around among some RCSO investigators. Supervisors were notified and they reportedly intercepted the written-down answers as it was used by an investigator.