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N.C. Officers Accused of Cheating Will Keep Their Jobs; Several Reassigned

By Tim Boyum, News 14 (Charlotte, Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Eighteen Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were in Raleigh on Friday, facing additional sanctions for their roles in a test-cheating scandal at the training academy.

One by one, the officers told their story in front of the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

After listening to the officers and then having a 30-minute discussion behind closed doors, the commission decided that the officers had already been punished enough for their wrongdoing.

"It does appear to this commission that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has taken some steps to correct the problems," panel member Betsy Bunting said.

Maj. Ruth Story, Sgt. David Gehrke and recruit trainer Ginny Woodlief were scrutinized Friday, along with 15 officers who went through the training academy since 2001.

Story, 44, was in charge of the academy in 2001, when recruits copied questions from 20 tests they had already taken and created a study guide. For three years, the guide was passed from class to class until it was discovered.

The CMPD disciplined about 135 of the more than 300 officers who went through the academy during the time the study guide existed. Sixteen officers were suspended, and more than 100 were ordered to retake the compromised tests. The retesting is ongoing.

No one was fired over the cheating scandal, but several members of the academy staff were reassigned.

Woodlief, who directly supervised the class that created the study guide, was suspended for five days. She was the only member of the academy staff disciplined by the department.

"After today, people will recognize what the commissioner recognized, and we will move forward as a police department and community to focus on issues that will help keep Charlotte the safest possible city we can," Chief Darrel Stephens said Friday.

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