GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – Colorado is suspending its tests for certifying firefighters after finding that a proctor may have given away advance copies of the exams.
The Colorado Division of Fire Safety said Tuesday fewer than 100 people are believed to have received advance copies in the past three years.
The division says the proctor is suspected of copying and distributing several versions of tests for firefighters, hazardous materials operations and fire instructors.
The Division of Fire Safety has launched an administrative investigation and is working with state and local prosecutors to see if a criminal investigation is needed.
Officials say they are developing new versions of the tests.
“There’s no indication that firefighters are any less capable of doing their jobs. But when it actually comes to certifying that process — that capability, that talent — we’ve got a system that needs to be checked right now,” said Lance Clem, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety.
The investigation affects every fire department in Colorado.
On Wednesday, Greeley Fire Chief Duane McDonald says one of his own, Lt. Roger Moore, violated the integrity of the values for the Greeley Fire Department. Moore is a 12-year veteran of the force.
“(It was a) very misguided and bad decision to at some point knowingly or unknowingly get a copy of this test and start using it as a study guide,” McDonald said.
McDonald says the lieutenant was preparing to teach a class and allegedly distributed a study guide that had been used as a state exam in the past.
“One of our firefighters, when they received it, brought it to our attention and said, ‘This kind looks like it could be a test,’” McDonald said.
McDonald said he’s the person who alerted the Division of Fire Safety.
“He was allowing firefighters to cheat,” he said.
McDonald apologized for what allegedly started from inside his department, but also says there should be no question in the quality of his firefighters.
“The firefighters of Greeley are highly-trained professionals. The community is not at risk.”
Moore is on administrative leave. The Colorado attorney general and local prosecutors are also working together to determine if any criminal charges may apply.
LINK: DFS Suspends Firefighter CertificationTesting (.pdf from Division of Fire Safety)
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