Yolanda Rodriguez; Staff
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Copyright 2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Seven Cobb County police recruits who were part of an academy class fired for cheating this month will not get their jobs back, county officials decided Friday.
The seven had name-clearing hearings Friday with Mickey Lloyd, Cobb County's director of public safety, Police Chief George Hatfield and other county employees.
They were given a chance to make their case, but "at this point the Department of Public Safety does not anticipate reinstating the recruits," said Robert Quigley, a county spokesman.
All 20 members of Recruit Class 17 were fired Aug. 7 after an investigation of cheating in the class. The investigation started after an instructor walked into a testing room and saw two students discussing the exam.
After the investigation, county officials said most of the recruits admitted to cheating on previous tests.
The seven recruits who had hearings Friday were Kevin A. Rowell, Walter S. Franco, Ronald J. Danos, Sangbeom Lee, Denis G. Waldron, Morgan J. Lopez and Carolyn H. Waybright. They could not be reached for comment.
In a letter to county officials, Franco said he was "deeply sorry . . . for being involved in the act that has disappointed so many people."
Atlanta lawyers Adam S. Jaffe and Philip A. Holloway are representing 10 of the remaining recruits in their attempts to get their jobs back.
Those recruits asked for an investigation this week into how the academy is run.
They contend that the academy's instructors encouraged the students to work together as a team - including during exams. They said that it was only after the investigation that cheating was defined.
The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which certifies law enforcement officers, is investigating the recruits. It is developing a comprehensive final exam for police recruits that council personnel will administer. The test will be designed to measure not only what the students have learned, but also the academy itself.
Patrice Kerner, a spokeswoman for the training council, said the exam should be ready by next year.
None of the 20 fired Ga. recuits accused of cheating will be reinstated