Cheating Scandal Leads to Termination Of 7 Deputy Recruits at Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Posted: January 25, 2016
This afternoon, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the termination of 7 deputy recruits after they were caught cheating on agency exams.
All of the recruits were hired by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on November 9, 2015. The investigation began last Thursday according to a press release issued this morning by Sgt. Spencer Gross, Public Information Officer from the Agency.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced the termination of 7 deputy recruits. The deputy recruits were terminated after it was discovered that they cheated on Field Training Program written and oral board exams and/or lied about their involvement in cheating. One patrol deputy has resigned as a result of the investigation.
Through the investigation, it was determined that 7 deputy recruits obtained copies of the Field Training Phase I and Phase II written exams, as well as Phase I and II oral board exams. These copies were the actual exams upon which they were tested. Several of the recruits scored 100% on their Phase I exams and planned to use the material to cheat on their Phase II exams. Some deputy recruits lied when initially questioned about the issue.
“7 deputy recruits obtained copies of actual FTO exams, used the exams to their benefit, cheated and lied,” said Sheriff Gualtieri. “We have nothing in the law enforcement profession without our integrity and there is no place for cheaters and liars in law enforcement and certainly not in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.”
It was also determined that Field Training Deputy, Eric Biddle, improperly provided the exam material to the deputy recruits according to the press release. Deputy Biddle resigned today. Biddle was hired by the agency on February 10, 2012.
It is unknown if any previous recruiting classes were involved or how long Deputy Biddle has had access to exam materials.