ATLANTA — A settlement has been reached between the Georgia Department of Public Safety and 26 troopers who were fired after they were accused of cheating on a test during Trooper School, according to officials.
In February 2020, nearly the entire 106th Georgia State Patrol trooper class was fired in connection to the alleged cheating. After a one-year investigation that produced nearly 8,000 documents, most of them were cleared.
While the troopers were found to have worked together and use their computers on the exam, the investigation found that they did not intend to cheat, according to Mike Ayers, the Executive Director of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T).
He said the investigation found the troopers believed it was OK to collaborate with each other and use additional resources for an online test, even though their instructors said they didn't give the cadets that impression.
"There is no indication that there was any willful deception on the part of those troopers," Ayers said.
Ayers said while 32 of the troopers in the 106th class were cleared, one was not. He said sanctions were recommended for that trooper as well as two instructors and a cadet from a previous class.
Twenty-six of the troopers brought a lawsuit against the Department of Public Safety in November 2020.
On Monday, the Georgia DPS said they reached a settlement - after two months of mediation - of $850,000, along with offers of reinstatement for 24 of the 26 troopers, with "several months of credit toward promotion."
"While the Department of Public Safety denies any legal liability, the Department of Public Safety seeks to move the Georgia State Patrol past this dispute and avoid years of contentious litigation, especially after the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.) cleared the Troopers of cheating on the radar/lidar test," the DPS said in a statement announcing the settlement.
"It is the desire of all parties involved, that this joint press statement will aid in bringing closure and healing to a stressful, emotional, and extremely difficult time."