PENDING PROMOTIONS PLACED ON HOLD
The content of the most recent promotional exam administered to the approximately 70 Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies striving to make the rank of sergeant or lieutenant may have been leaked in advance. According to a report, and statements made by outgoing Sheriff Rick Beesler’s department along with quotes directly from incoming Sheriff-elect Darryl Daniels, apparently some deputies who took the test may have had advance knowledge of what was to be included on the exam. Incoming Sheriff Daniels has stated that officers who received a promotion based upon this compromised exam will have to resume their former rank until a new test can be administered. Taking off rank in the world of law enforcement or the military is not a small move. While physically all the officer has to do is unpin his lieutenant bars on his collar or cut the sergeant stripes off of his sleeves, the amount of authority leaving the deputy coupled with a probable change in duty assignment is huge. If officers had been promoted, then demoted, one obvious change would be the officer’s pay reverting to the former, less paying position. Promotional testing of police officers usually involves the hiring of an outside firm to develop, administer and score the written test. Officers then usually go before oral review boards of higher ranking officers in their own department. According to the news article, Sheriff Beesler is conducting an investigation.
“THE INTEGRITY OF THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN CALLED INTO QUESTION”
That quote is from, according to news media, a statement issued by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. In other words, Sheriff Beesler must have concerns that some officers had advance knowledge of what was on the exam. Some officers may have gained an unfair advantage over their fellow officers. Perhaps the most qualified officers didn’t score as high as those who had the inside track on the questions.
“THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROCESS IS MOST IMPORTANT”
That’s a quote, according to news reports, of incoming Sheriff Darryl Daniels. Incoming Sheriff Daniels also stated he was “disappointed to learn of the leak” due to the amount of time and effort officers devote into getting a good score. Daniels is further quoted, “if they truly want the promotion, they’ll do whatever it takes to apply themselves to do the same thing they did before to reach the position they did the first time.” This investigation is ongoing and this writer has no information on how that is proceeding. With the outgoing Sheriff questioning the integrity of the test results and the incoming Sheriff questioning the integrity of the test process, it begs the question if any officers used the information to cheat. If cheaters are uncovered, hopefully they will be removed from the department at a minimum. This would preclude them from just retaking the test and “doing the same thing they did before” to gain an advantage over their fellow officers.
NO MENTION OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE OFFICERS
This writer’s position is that although the integrity of the test results(sheriff #1 concern) and the integrity of the process(sheriff #2 concern) are valid concerns, these are not the real integrity concerns. The test results and the process, the integrity of both being questioned by top leadership, if compromised, could only have been compromised by someone knowing what was on the exam and some amount of officers who had that knowledge passed along to them. The test results will probably never be public information; however, something was noted as being out of the ordinary. If this test was compromised, it was most probably compromised by law enforcement. Bottom line is that law enforcement cannot even trust their own. The lack of integrity of the results and process can only be due to, as a perception at present, a lack of integrity by law enforcement. Hopefully, any and all cheaters that happen to be uncovered are removed from sworn law enforcement. If an officer would cheat on an exam to bypass his fellow officer careerwise, would he be above cheating, or doing “whatever it takes” to effect an arrest of a suspect or cheating on his attempts to create an honest affidavit for a warrant to submit to a judge? Also, it appears that the current Sheriff is conducting this investigation utilizing the department’s own integrity unit. The public might question how a department that potentially compromised test results and the testing process could conduct an impartial, uncompromised investigation of itself. Continue reading