City Desk

Was D.C. Cop Exam Hard?

This summer, David Carter came to D.C. to teach some of  the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) brass how to be intelligence operatives. The Michigan State University professor and criminologist put parts of the police department's command staff through two days of intensive training. The cops worked through 14 hours of class. Others took a killer fifty-question exam based on material  from a five-hundred page "Intelligence Led Policing" guide Carter had penned. Everyone got a copy of it, but "Some had greater enthusiasm for the training than others," says Carter.

Those who didn't find the material riveting might have found it hard to score the 76% or above score they needed to pass the exam. But Carter says his guide isn't hard to absorb.

"I wouldn't say it was difficult at all," Carter says in an email, "It's a different way of managing resources and approaching crime control. Cops are use to dealing with crime: A crime occurs, they respond, investigate and hopefully catch the criminal.  Intelligence is all about identifying threats and stopping the threats from reaching fruition. The material is not difficult, but it is a different mindset."

Sources have told City Desk that the test MPD developed using Carter's guide is the test Assistant Chief Diane Groomes is accused of giving out answers to. The 44-year-old has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the allegation. But MPD has yet to confirm that, and there's a counter narrative floating around that it was actually  one of many National Incident Management System tests MPD takes.

One thing that could tie into the storyline is that sources say Groomes is very sharp and has a photographic memory. If  that's the case, she could have burned through the test, which was administered over several months, and then recounted the questions and answers from memory to some of those who hadn't taken it yet. But that's just a theory.

At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson told the Washington Post that Groomes gave answers to fellow command staffers who hadn't yet completed their exam and were up against a deadline.  That makes sense, as the test doesn't seem like something you could wing.

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  • W Jordan

    The issue is not the test, but integrity and what it may reveal about internal MPD politics. If what occured amounts to cheating then Chief Groomes will need to be punished, her pass service should be taken into account.

    If she helped some officers but not others (Clique) then it may reveal a bigger problem in the command structure. We'll see.

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