Rockdale deputies fired, resigned, disciplined for cheating

Two Rockdale County Sheriff’s officers were fired, one quit and five others were demoted and suspended for 10 days without pay for untruthfulness or cheating on a required test on Georgia law, officials said Friday.

Sheriff Eric Levett made decisions on disciplinary actions even as the internal investigation remains open.

Seven of the eight have been on paid administrative leave since last week. An additional deputy was implicated during the internal review even though he was not among those suspended a week ago.

“It is unfortunate that poor decisions were made and three employees are no longer employed by the (sheriff’s office),” Levett said in a statement. “I will not tolerate cheating and have zero-tolerance for any level of untruthfulness from RCSO employees. The citizens of Rockdale County deserve the highest level of professionalism and integrity in their law enforcement officers.”

According to Sgt. Andrew Arnold, a spokesman for the office, former investigator Jennifer Perry initially got the answers for the test offered and the end of last month and shared them. Not all those who were disciplined used the answers, but they either knew of the sharing or passed along the information, Arnold said.

Those disciplined are:

• Investigator Eddie Wilson and deputy David Wegemer were fired for unethical activity. Wegemer was found to be insubordinate and untruthful.

• Cpl. Shawn Edenfield resigned before the disciplinary hearings concluded Wednesday. Still internal investigators concluded he had been unethical and untruthful.

• Five were demoted to the lowest rank for deputies and suspended without pay for 10 days. They will have to take remedial training in ethics and professionalism and repeat the course on the law. They are Perry, Lendon McCoy, , Tracy Radford, Grote Levett and Travus Blevins.

The fallout from the investigation was reported to the Rockdale County district attorney because some of the disciplined deputies are involved in criminal cases and this could harm the credibility of their testimony.

The disciplinary actions and the findings of the internal investigation also will be sent to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which maintains certification and disciplinary records on Georgia law enforcement officers, and that can damage their careers in law enforcement.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the internal investigation should be completed in about a week.

Chief Deputy Scott Freeman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week the investigation began after a sheriff's office sergeant reported hearing accusations of cheating.

The investigators disciplined were among 15 investigators assigned to general investigations in the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office. There are a total of 26 investigators in the office.

According to Freeman, deputies have been shifted to different assignments to fill staffing gaps.