- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - An investigation into possible cheating at the Pennsylvania State Police academy has involved dozens of interviews and an extensive collection of evidence since it began in December, the force’s commander said Thursday.

The statement from Commissioner Tyree Blocker gave no other details about what he called a “full and comprehensive” investigation by the internal affairs unit.

“No actions by a small group of individuals can ever undermine a century of tradition built by our troopers, and I am confident that those graduating in March will continue to build on our proud traditions and serve the Commonwealth with the utmost honor, integrity, and trust,” Blocker said.

With about 6,000 uniformed and civilian personnel, the Pennsylvania State Police is one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies.

Blocker did not describe the manner of cheating that is under investigation - cadets are subject to a battery of written tests during the more than six months of training - or what spurred the investigation.

He also did not say whether any cadets in one of the two current academy classes or state troopers have been disciplined or dismissed as part of the probe. Blocker said no other information would be revealed until the investigation is complete.

Sen. Charles McIlhinney, whose committee has oversight of state police issues, said Blocker told him that the investigation was initiated from within the academy’s ranks of administrators, but gave no other information. The agency is taking the issue very seriously and taking the appropriate steps to investigate it, McIlhinney said.

In his statement, Blocker suggested that anyone caught will be punished severely.

“Those who compromise our core values will receive no sympathy or respite from me,” Blocker said.

Blocker’s statement came a day after Gov. Tom Wolf indirectly confirmed news reports of an investigation. Wolf said cheating is “absolutely unacceptable” and that if it went on “people will pay the price.”

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