Cheating scandal puts Muncie Fire Department captain's career in jeopardy
MUNCIE, Ind. — A veteran Muncie firefighter's career appears to be in jeopardy in the wake of a cheating scandal involving testing for EMT certification.
A recently completed investigation by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security concluded that Troy Dulaney, a Muncie Fire Department captain, distributed questions and answers from an exam to candidates hoping to become emergency medical technicians.
In an unsolicited group text message to eight MFD recruits, the report concluded, Dulaney also allegedly asked the recipients to provide him with information about the questions they were posed on their own EMT exams, according to Homeland Security documents obtained by WTHR-TV.
In response, Kraig Kenney, Indiana's state emergency medical services director, has rescinded Dulaney's EMS certifications for the next seven years.
The eight recruits, meanwhile, received a censure from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, were placed on probation for two years and will be required to take the national EMS test again.
"All students were placed in a challenging position when Dulaney, a high-ranking officer in their fire department, involved the students in a cheating scheme," according to a "findings and order" document issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
"The cheating was initiated by Dulaney, and the students did not ask to be involved in it. However, the students still cooperated by not reporting the misconduct and by offering return information to Captain Dulaney."
The actions by state officials will not go into effect until June 5 to give Dulaney and the MFD recruits time should they chose to appeal.
In a statement released this week, Mayor Dan Ridenour said, "One firefighter has clearly been implicated in offering to facilitate EMT trainees in violating ethical test-taking standards."
Ridenour said he had conferred with Fire Chief Robert Mead and agreed "wholeheartedly that this behavior is completely unacceptable,
"We are pursuing disciplinary action up to and including termination. Maintaining the integrity of our fire department and EMT program is paramount to the safety of our citizens, and my administration will not tolerate corrupt and dishonest conduct."
Dulaney was hired by the fire department in 2004 and has been a captain since 2021.
He is also a target of a federal lawsuit, along with two EMTs, filed May 15 by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
The lawsuit — filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis — refers to a "years-long scheme... of cheating on NREMT's examinations that was facilitated by defendant Dulaney."
It alleges "materials from NREMET's examinations" were made available "to individuals before they took the examination, thereby giving them an improper advantage on the test and endangering the public whom these prospective emergency medical technicians were to serve."
EMTs Jacob Sutton and Adam Burk are accused in the lawsuit of memorizing questions on NREMT exams they took and disclosing them to Dulaney,
The suit seeks damages for copyright infringement, breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation.
According to the lawsuit, "an anonymous whistleblower claiming to be an employee of the Muncie Fire Department" told NREMT officials about Dulaney's alleged involvement in a cheating scheme in a March 11 email.
That message expressed "fear for the lives of the citizens of Muncie who expect the highest level of care from (the Muncie Fire Department)," and said one MFD employee recently passed the NREMT exam "without ever attending a training class, but instead simply memorized hundreds of test questions provided to him or her by Dulaney."
The lawsuit said eight MFD recruits who took the NREMT exam in February had all passed. In 2022, only 56 percent of those taking the exam on a statewide basis passed it on their first try.
In an April 27 letter to a Chicago attorney representing NREMT, Dulaney said he continued to "deny the veracity of the allegations presented," but said he did "hereby apologize for even the semblance of wrongdoing."
Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at [email protected].