HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – For the first time, Pennsylvania State Police is confirming what ABC27 has been reporting since Monday. That is, the state’s elite law enforcement agency is investigating possible cheating at its academy in Hershey.
It came in a 10-paragraph statement from PSP Commissioner Tyree Blocker. The first several paragraph reiterated the honor, integrity and trust built over a hundred years of service. But then the statement confirms that in late December, cheating was suspected among cadets of the 144th class.
Blocker then had stern words for anyone caught: “I assure the people of Pennsylvania that we will leave no stone unturned and those who engaged in such behavior face swift and certain discipline.”
“Each cadet who enters the academy is held to an honor code to never cheat, lie or steal, and we will ensure that the integrity of our organization of nearly 5,000 strong is not compromised by the actions of a few,” he continued.
How few? How many? We’re still not sure, though ABC 27 has reported as many as 40 cadets could be caught up in the scandal.
Relatives of cadets tell ABC27 that the academy is on lockdown, which means there will be no weekend leave for cadets, and that a scheduled family day next week has been canceled.
It’s unclear if that’s related to the alleged cheating.
What is clear is that members of the class in question are leaving. ABC27 obtained roster sheets for the 144th class on Tuesday and then requested them again on Thursday. In those two days, five cadets have left the program. The class is split into two groupings of names, believed to be platoons. All five departures come from the same platoon or grouping. And they leave just weeks ahead of the scheduled March 18 graduation.
In his statement, Blocker warned against jumping to conclusions.
“The agency also stresses that not every cadet who has departed from the 144th class is necessarily implicated in the investigation,” he said.
State Police said it will have no further comment on the matter. It asked for patience from the public and Blocker is seeking fairness moving forward.
“Members of the 144th class who graduate will be individuals who uphold our core values and pledge to serve Pennsylvania with honor, integrity, and trust,” he said. “No actions by a small group of individuals can ever undermine a century of tradition built by our troopers and I am confident that those graduating in March will continue to build on our proud traditions and serve the commonwealth with the utmost honor, integrity, and trust.”