City Investigates Alleged Cheating on EMT Test

By Clarence Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 24, 2009

D.C. officials are investigating allegations that rescue workers cheated on a certification exam for emergency medical technicians at a Maryland testing facility, authorities said yesterday.

Internal affairs investigators are probing whether fire department personnel brought in "outside materials," the department said in a statement. The statement did not say how many employees might have been involved.

The exam is administered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.

The allegations involve tests administered at the Pearson VUE training center in La Plata, officials said. D.C. fire officials said department personnel have been barred from using the facility until the investigation is complete.

"Ironically, one of the reasons why the District selected the NREMT certification process is to ensure test integrity," Chief Dennis L. Rubin said in the statement. "If in fact these allegations are true, the D.C. Fire and EMS Department will be greatly disappointed that both the NREMT and Pearson VUE Training Center failed to meet our expectations."

Rubin's statement said the facility and NREMT were confident that their "robust security systems" reduce the possibility of cheating on tests.

D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), who chairs the committee with oversight of the department, said he is disturbed by the allegations, particularly because of similar incidents in the past.

He said the testing was required under an agreement made by the city after the emergency response failures in the fatal beating of former New York Times journalist David Rosenbaum.

"The purpose is to have higher, more independent testing, and the national registry is the national standard," Mendelson said. "Everything about it is great except the possibility that there is cheating."

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