Cobb County Disciplines Seven in Cheating Scandal

The Cobb County Fire Department has completed an investigation into a cheating scandal that has led to the discipline of seven firefighters. The firefighters were taking a state-administered certification exam to allow them to serve as apparatus operations instructors.

The investigation concluded the seven improperly collaborated on their answers. All members cooperated with the investigation and all had clean disciplinary records. Four lieutenants were demoted to engineer. Two engineers were suspended without pay for 10 shifts each, and a firefighter was suspended without pay for five shifts. None of the seven were terminated.

Deputy Chief Carl Crumbley told WSBTV that the cheating appears to have been an isolated incident. He said the exam proctor apparently left the room during the exam. WSBTV quoted Chief Crumbley as follows:

  • I believe that some really good people had used some poor judgment on that day.
  • They were all very forthcoming. They were all very honest of what occurred and quite frankly they owned it.
  • It’s standard practice to review some before the test but once the test is handed out and the proctoring begins that should not happen. 
  • Matter of fact, the proctor should not leave. The students aren’t allowed to leave until the test is completed.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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