An organized cheating scandal has been exposed at an Ohio state highway patrol post. The troopers were sharing answers to an examination to become proficient in the use of breath testing equipment. That equipment is used in cases of suspected drunk driving in Ohio.
Only troopers who have certification from the Ohio Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Testing are allowed to administer a breath test, and officers must pass an annual written renewal exam.
In March of 2007 a trooper taking the 50 question, multi-choice test photocopied the test and his answers when the test administrator left the room. That trooper then shared his copies with other troopers scheduled to take the test. The scheme was discovered when a trooper was caught using a cheat sheet during the exam this year. The test is reportedly not that difficult, so there was dismay when an investigation revealed that troopers were even copying incorrect answers. Even though the investigation has focused only on state troopers to this point, there are allegations of cheating at several local law enforcement agencies.
The cheating was so rampant and open that state highway patrol superiors knew of the exchange of test answers.
The Ohio Inspector General has expressed concern over the public perception of the cheating, especially how it may call into doubt the validity of breath tests administered during a traffic stop for driving under the influence in Ohio. Under Ohio DUI laws being found guilty of Ohio DUI/OVI can rest solely on the evidence produced from a breath test for blood alcohol content. Having a trooper who is not proficient in the application of the test could result in a false reading would lead to a false arrest and substantial costs, fines and consequences.
The state has changed the test questions and instated a rule that the test administrator remain in the testing room. Those caught cheating have been given either an oral reprimand or a three day suspension.
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