City Desk

MPD Retakes Test Washed Out By Cheating Allegations

The Metropolitan Police Department brass has to take a tough exam all over again, and it's due on Friday. MPD spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump says that's the deadline for the intelligence-led policing test police leaders are required to complete online.

The test was first issued this fall, but has been reformulated and re-administered because of cheating allegations levied against Assistant Chief Diane Groomes. MPD has now cleared Groomes of any wrongdoing. Some have found that development curious. Groomes seemed to be apologizing for cheating in an earlier statement: "I'm sorry… for my actions and bad judgement," she wrote in an e-mail. The chairman of the D.C. Council's Public Safety and Judiciary Committee, At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson, sounded as though he'd learned she'd given out a cheat sheet to help other officers. "She supposedly said: 'Hey, you have to get this done, you are overdue. Here, here's the answers. Just get this in,' "  Mendelson told The Washington Post.

According to Crump, 100 percent of those required to take the test that first go-around passed.

That might seem suspicious, but at the end of an investigation conducted by Internal Affairs, Chief Cathy Lanier announced that a briefly suspended Groomes could go back to her job, citing the fact that the exam was open-book. Police sources have repeated rumors that Groomes divided the test into sections and asked different officers to research each one. Supposedly, when they completed the task, she compiled their work and sent it out via e-mail.

That might or might not be okay, depending on how you interpret "open-book." But then again, the exam was meant to familiarize officers with intelligence gathering techniques, and also, with how to strike the all-important balance between using those techniques and respecting civil rights. That information can't be mastered with an answer sheet.

The FBI found itself in a somewhat similar situation in 2009, points out  Kris Baumann, the D.C. police union chief, and heads rolled."What are we saying? That we're less ethical than the FBI?"

Law enforcement culture might have once taken collective test-taking in stride, but that's definitely out for MPD. Crump claims test scores haven't suffered as a result.  "91 percent have completed the second comprehensive assessment of the material," Crump says of the second intelligence-led policing exam. She claims all have passed.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • DC Disgusted

    Chief Lanier and her cronies need to pack their bags, hang their heads in shame and quit. Diane Groomes sent out emails with the answers and told specific Commanders to just input the answers -- that is not the same as taking an open book test. It is laughable that when Chief Cathy suspended Groomes (WITH PAY) she did not know it was an open book test. Groomes had just interviewed for Chief Cathy's job, Chief Cathy got scared -- and took information she knew to be true to disgrace the other blond princess... after all, Mayor-elect Gray has cited Chief Cathy's popularity as grounds for keeping her... and after the twitter, facebook and other publicity stunts by Diane, we've learned she too is popular -- neither are ethical, neither tell the truth, neither respect civil rights, neither respect employment laws such as whistle blowers, EEOC. But hey, they are popular -- what great role models for the City's children...

  • What does it Take

    What does it take to rid the tax-payers and stakeholders of the District of Columbia of these unethical people? Since when does popularity trump ethics? Instead of retaining Chief Lanier, Mayor-elect Gray should be searching for a way to prevent Chief Lanier and former Chief Ramsey from receiving retirement compensation from the District. Neither of them were hired to break the law yet, both of them have. Taxpayers are still paying for Ramsey's illegal acts and the same will be true with Lanier.

    I continue to be amazed by this cheating scandal and the bogus investigation that followed. Who conducted the investigation? Was it someone equal to or subordinate to Chief Groomes? Unless Chief Lanier conducted the investigation herself, it had to have been. Hence the outcome. Did Chief Groomes ever discipline the commanders who failed to complete the test by the due date? After all, that is what prompted her to give the answers in the first place. Hell, was Chief Groomes disciplined for giving out the answers instead of writing-up those who failed to complete the test by the due date? After all, that's what her job required her to do.

    Mayor-elect Gray's decision to retain Chief Lanier after she has been found to have retaliated against members of the department on two separate occasions is scary and reckless. In addition, she has already cost taxpayers thousands of dollar because of other unethical and reckless decisions and there remain other unsettled suits pending against her. How much do the taxpayers have to waste before she is relieved of her position?

    Since Chief Lanier and Assistant Chief Groomes have mastered the art of making everyday people feel important, put them somewhere where they can do no harm. Since they clearly are not crime fighters, create a public relations office where they can give out their number, answer e-mails and hug as many people as they please. That way the citizens are happy and the District taxpayers can stop paying for their unethical behavior.

  • Truly Frightened

    If there was no wrong-doing, why require the commanders to take the test again? The appointment of a Chief of Police cannot be determined by the popularity or likability of an individual. The credibility of the leaders and the members that they command is essential for any law enforcement agency to be effective. Members of the community and it's stakeholders must feel confident that those charged with enforcing the law are ethical and that their word is above reproach. Sadly, that is not the case when it comes to the Metropolitan Police Department. The chief of police retaliates against her officers. One Assistant Chief recruits members of the command staff to accept answers to a test so that they do not have to bother to learn the information that they are required to know. Another Assistant Chief accepts a longevity bonus that he is clearly not entitled to. By the way, what at-will employee is entitled to that type of longevity pay? I am assuming that he is at will because he left as a lieutenant and came back as an assistant chief which would have been impossible under system he was in prior to leaving. Another Assistant Chief violated the civil rights of hundreds of citizens and clearly lied about it. Taxpayers are still paying for that. If these are the best and brightest the department has to offer, the District's residents and stakeholders should truly be frightened.

  • Pingback: Commanders must re-take test in Groomes scandal « D.C. Police Union

  • robert

    When will the citizens of DC wake up and stop being snow-balled with all the PR sunts by Lanier and Groomes over the past four years. The Examiner is reporting this morning that sex crimes and other violent crime is up in DC, but we all feel better because Lanier and Groomes answers are e-mails. Mayor elect Gray...I think you made a really bad decision in keeping Lanier

  • Realist

    Lanier and Groomes are not perfect, but they are light years ahead of Ramsey, Pennington, Lyin' Larry Soulsby, and some of the disasters that preceded them.

    The police force itself is also far better than it was in the 90's.

    One good indicator is that the police union is unhappy. Whenever public employee unions are happy, that's a really good time to check and see what's wrong.