County police promotions test is ruled invalid Sergeants exam tainted, personnel board says


Several county police officers who thought they would get raises and promotions this year won't because the county personnel board has ruled that the results of the promotion test should be thrown out and a new test given.

The board decided that the results of the sergeants test were "tainted" because a lieutenant charged a fee for a preparatory class.

The strongly worded decision assailed upper management in the department for allowing Lt. Ronald Bateman, a night shift supervisor in the Eastern District, to give the course. The department failed to "protect the integrity of the promotional process" and "the interest of both the employee and the county," the board held.

The decision, issued Wednesday, calls for the department to begin the promotions process from scratch. E. Hilton Wade Jr., the county personnel officer, said it could take up to six months to complete. He said the personnel office is reviewing the ruling to decide what action to take.

The test was administered in the spring to about 160 police officers and 40 sergeants. Although the board tossed out the results of the test for promotion to sergeant, it upheld the results of the test sergeants took for promotion to lieutenant because no sergeants took the preparatory class.

Randy Bell, the police public information officer, would not comment on the ruling, and Chief Robert A. Beck referred all calls to the county personnel office. But the decision has angered rank-and-file officers.

"How can you penalize the patrolmen who did not take Bateman's class if you're not going to penalize the sergeants?" said an officer who was looking forward to a promotion and asked that his name not be used. "This was something that people devoted huge amounts of time to, and now it's all been thrown out by a personnel board."

The decision won't help the officers who originally raised questions about the test.

Sgt. William C. King of the Western District, Cpl. Henry F. Affeldt of the criminal investigations division and Officer William G. Schepleng of the special operations section charged after the test was administered that Lieutenant Bateman had received inside information on the test questions and had sold them to his students.

The county ethics commission rejected that claim, ruling that there is "no evidence to substantiate the allegations."

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