NYPD sergeants who took a makeup exam to move up to lieutenant status last summer had access to an answer key posted on a popular message board for NYPD officers, according to a lawsuit being filed today in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The suit, first reported by the Daily News, includes excerpts from posts on the message board Rising Star, including a photograph posted May 13th of an answer key that the suit alleges is accurate, and still online. On May 18th, user Tavares91 posted, "[If] you need the exact wording of a specific question, message me the question number and I will send it to you!”
Earlier this month, NYPD sources told NY1 that cheating is so common on the lieutenant exam that some officers intentionally skip the original test date in order to schedule a makeup test and access an answer key in the meantime. "Many people, they know the game," an anonymous sergeant told the outlet. "If they call out sick or if they, what we call line of duty, they get injured on the job prior to the exam, that is their excuse for taking a make-up exam."
Of the 2,400 sergeants who took the Department of Citywide Administrative Services's lieutenant exam as-scheduled last year, 164 passed—about 6.8%. Of the 80 sergeants who took the makeup exam, 48% passed.
"What it appears we have uncovered is that this is not an isolated incident," said attorney Randolph McLaughlin. "Certainly someone who cheats should not be promoted."
NYPD lieutenants make upwards of $200,000 per year, according to SeeThroughNY. Their responsibilities include commanding a platoon and overseeing general and special operations, coordinating responses to a crime scene, and disciplining subordinates.
The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau has confirmed that it is investigating the makeup test. In the meantime, the sergeants' suit is calling for a department-wide freeze on promotions.
Earlier this month, the NYPD stripped an academy CPR instructor of her badge after a former NYPD officer who fatally shot an innocent man in Brooklyn testified in court that he only "sort of" received CPR training in her class. According to the NYPD, an investigation into allegedly lax CPR instruction is ongoing.
UPDATE: This post has been updated with a statement from the sergeants' attorney.