Monday, February 18, 2013

Vegas Mayor Disappointed Over Cheating Allegations

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that interim Fire Chief Scott Fuller of Las Vegas?resigned Wednesday. Fuller remains the interim fire chief. 8 News Now regrets the?error.?

LAS VEGAS -- An investigation has been launched into allegations of widespread cheating among the latest group of recruits for the City of Las Vegas Fire Department.

The city launched this investigation as a result of an incident that took place during a written exam at the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Academy. The academy is 20 weeks long.

Because of the investigation, the recruits' graduation that was supposed to take place Thursday was canceled.

The fire department declined to comment on the allegations.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called the cheating allegations disappointing.

"It's a tough job to get, and a tough job to do," she said.

Twice a year, hundreds apply to be a Las Vegas firefighter, with only about 30 actually making it to the recruiting class.

The class that was supposed to graduate Thursday had 14 recruits.

The reward? A sizable salary and honored place in the community.

Reporter: Is there an incentive to cheat, to try and keep this position?

Goodman responded, "That's a difficult question. I mean, there's always wonderful people in our world. Thank heavens they outweigh those who might shortcut and do different things. I'm just not a believer that anything's really happened."

The academy's recruits go through rigorous state practical and written tests to become a firefighter.

It was during an exam a city spokesperson said cheating may have occurred, something Goodman said she hopes is not the case.

"At this point it's under investigation," she said. "Just for that alone that makes me sad."

According to the Nevada State Fire Marshal's Office, the firefighter's written test consists of about 100 questions selected at random from a pool of 500 to 600.

Nevada State Fire Marshal Chief Peter Mulvihill said he believes the test is passable.

"If the student studies and applies themselves, they can be successful," he said.

The local firefighters union declined comment, other than saying it's a personnel issue and they "fully support the investigation."

In a statement released to 8 News NOW Wednesday night, Las Vegas spokesman David Riggleman said, "Integrity is a core value of the city of Las Vegas and allegations of this nature are taken very seriously."

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Chief Mike Myers just resigned from his position last week.

Goodman said that his resignation was "absolutely not" related to the cheating allegations.

They only reason the chief resigned is because his wife accepted a new position across the country.


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