Seven Rockdale County Sheriff's Office investigators are on leave as the RCSO investigates allegations of cheating on an online test.
The RCSO "has commenced with doing a thorough investigation to lay out all the facts... to make sure all the allegations are proven or disproven," said Chief Deputy Scott Freeman.
"Our profession in law enforcement is grounded in integrity and ethical conduct. We are held to a higher standard," said Freeman.
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.
The matter was brought to RCSO Internal Affairs and to the sheriff.
"There were additional questions that needed to be answered," said Freeman. In order to give the accused investigators the benefit of the doubt and conduct a thorough, transparent investigation, Sheriff Eric Levett made the decision to put the investigators in question on paid administrative leave while the internal investigation was conducted, said Freeman.
The seven investigators represent about half the investigators in the criminal investigation division. Case assignments have been reshuffled and the District Attorney's Office has been notified about any cases those seven investigators might have been involved in.
The investigation is estimated to last until next week and a report is slated to be presented to the sheriff.