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ATLANTA (WJBF) – Thirty-three new troopers with the Georgia State Patrol are out of a job after it was discovered they allegedly cheated on exams, authorities said at a press conference Tuesday.

Col. Mark McDonough, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and head of GSP, said that students with the 106th trooper school cheated during an online test for speed detection in October 2019.  The investigation began just days after testing and included interviews with each of the students.

Top DPS officials learned about the scandal from the girlfriend of one of the cadets, Demon Clark, WJBF reported. The girlfriend allegedly admitted she took the online test for Clark. When the cadet was asked about the cheating allegations, he told his superiors “he was not the only one who cheated, the whole class cheated,” and that is when the decision was made to investigate the testing of the entire class, McDonough said.

According to the Department of Public Safety, during the investigation each cadet described the way they cheated and helped each other with the online exam. Investigators also found that the cadets used Snapchat, group messages and Google to find and share test answers.

The actions violated the department’s code of conduct policy and the decision to fire those involved was made after the investigation concluded Wednesday morning. Thirty-two were fired; one cadet resigned. The GSP is now trying to figure out how to deal with the loss of officers.

“The impact, on average, can be three or four troopers per region. When you look at the size of the region, for instance, Troop I on the coast, that’s pretty much the whole coastal 100-plus miles and then inland.” McDonough said. “You take three or four troopers … off the road and you see the distance of the interstate, their not being there can have an impact.