Seven Cobb firefighters disciplined for exam cheating

A firefighter's ladder truck

Cobb County government announced that seven firefighters of the Cobb County Fire Department were disciplined in manners ranging from demotion to suspension after an investigation found that the group improperly worked together while taking a state-administered certification exam. 

According to the county’s news release the internal investigation found the firefighters had collaborated on answers to the questions on a proctored certification exam.

The infractions occurred during a course that would certify the firefighters to become instructors on specific fire apparatus operations.

Four of the firefighters were demoted from Lieutenant to Engineer, and three others, two Engineers and a Firefighter, were suspended without pay.

“We are extremely disappointed by the poor judgment of these firefighters,” said Cobb County Fire Chief William Johnson.  “We launched an investigation as soon as we learned of the accusation. Those involved cooperated with us and realized they had made a huge mistake. The punishment is severe but should send a message that this department will not tolerate any breach of ethical behavior.”

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Johnson said the department will review how these courses are administered in Cobb County and work with the state to make any changes necessary to avoid future infractions.

“These are firefighters with otherwise spotless records,” Chief Johnson said.  “The discipline rendered hopefully reinforced all the values that the department embraces.  It is regrettable, but it shows we will handle these situations appropriately, knowing the department’s reputation is on the line.”

The incident and punishments were brought to the attention of Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid.

“I appreciate that when this incident was brought up to leadership, they responded immediately,” Cupid said as reported in the county’s news release.  “I also appreciate that Fire and Emergency Services took decisive steps to discipline those involved and are taking steps to correct matters moving forward.”

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