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Firefighter Blows The Whistle On Cheating Within The Cal Fire Academy

SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) – First, it was a sex and alcohol scandal at its academy several years ago. Now, it appears Cal Fire is cracking down hard on cheating test takers.

The Sacramento Bee reported Monday about Jeff Isaacs, an assistant chief for the department's Fresno unit that was compelled to resign last month amid a cheating scandal.

In an interview conducted by The Sacramento Bee, the voice of a Cal Fire firefighter has been altered to protect his identity.

The Sacramento Bee's report included the whistleblower describing how students and instructors met to go over old tests.

"Every Sunday night, the class would get together with one of the instructors," the whistleblower said. "There were old tests, and old study notes that were in circulation between cadets that were recognized as contraband in the sense that it was specified in the policy that it was against the rules to have."

And then there is the case of Isaacs, a 24-year Cal Fire veteran accused of helping fellow firefighter Scott Phillips with a promotion test back in 2016.

It turns out Isaacs was on a Cal Fire promotion panel, and knew what questions would be asked.

Phillips later told Cal Fire investigators that Isaacs tipped him off to study topics, like how to coordinate aircraft, or how to enter burning structures.

Isaacs was later forced to resign.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott wrote a disciplinary letter to Isaacs saying, "Your dishonesty demonstrates you do not accept responsibility for your misconduct and indicates you are likely to engage in same/similar misconduct in the future."

As for Phillips, he failed the promotion test.

Isaacs denied giving out hints for the test and told The Sacramento Bee that if he really did help Phillips, then why didn't Phillips get a better score?

Cal Fire had no comment, saying this was a personnel matter and the firefighters' union did not respond to a request for comment.

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