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Transportation police oust 10 recruits in cheating scandal

Ten members of the current recruiting class for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police have been ousted for cheating in the second such scandal to affect a local public safety agency in recent weeks.

The transportation police said in a news release Monday that the 10 — more than one-quarter of the class that began training June 29 — were "rejected on probation" after an investigation found they had engaged in "academic misconduct."

The rejections come three weeks after the Baltimore Fire Department suspended emergency medical training and locked down a training facility after finding that some firefighter candidates had cheated on a licensing exam. Following the revelation of the misconduct, the head of the academy was reassigned.

Eight of the recruits had been training to serve in the transportation authority police and two were preparing for careers in the Maryland Transit Administration Police, the department said.

The Transportation Authority police serve as the primary law enforcement agency for the state's toll facilities, the Port of Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The MTA Police patrol that agency's transit facilities, including buses, the light rail and Baltimore Metro system.

The statement did not explain what specific actions constituted the misconduct, but it said no members of the training academy staff or outside instructors were involved.

In the Fire Department cheating incident, all of the emergency medical instructors were put on administrative leave pending an investigation. Fire Chief James S. Clack said investigators were looking into reports that an instructor had provided exam answers to recruits.

The transportation authority police said no grades, tests or course materials had been compromised. The department would not name the individuals who were rejected, citing confidentiality provisions of state law.

The statement said 27 members of the class remain in training for the transportation authority and MTA police departments.

The statement quoted former transportation authority police Chief Marcus L. Brown, who signed off on the decision before leaving to take over as superintendent of the Maryland State Police Aug. 1.

"From day one, MDTA Police recruits are expected to uphold our core principles of honesty, integrity, dignity and dedication. I personally delivered this expectation to Recruit Class #44 at Family Night before the Training Academy started," Brown said. "Deviation from these principles is not tolerated, and I commend the MDTA Police Command Staff for their swift and decisive actions."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun