EMS test cheating investigation leads to resignations

A battalion chief and firefighter-medic have resigned after investigation finds unauthorized study guide for protocol test; another officer is under investigation

NORTH PORT, Fla. – A North Port Fire Rescue battalion chief and firefighter-paramedic have resigned after a formal investigation that followed a report of a non-authorized study guide for an EMS protocol test. A second officer is on paid leave while the investigation continues.

According to the North Port Fire Rescue department, an employee reported on the existence of a study guide, not authorized by the department, for the 2015 EMS Protocol. It was reported that the study guide may contain known testing material.

On Jan. 12, a formal investigation was initiated into the actions of Battalion Chief James Woods related to the creation of a study guide. After conducting interviews and reviewing information, two additional employees, Lt. Romeo Carrano and firefighter-paramedic Matthew DeGaeta, became subjects of the investigation.On Jan. 28, both Battalion Chief James Woods and firefighter-paramedic Matthew DeGaeta resigned from their positions, concluding their investigation. Lt. Romeo Carrano remains under investigation. Carrano is serving overseas, reported MySuncoast

“The regrettable actions of these three individuals are not reflective of the many dedicated and hardworking members of North Port Fire Rescue who perform their lifesaving medical skills each day in our community,” Chief William Taaffe said. “We will continue with our mission to provide exceptional public safety services in a safe, compassionate and professional manner."

North Port Fire Rescue Chief William Taaffe, in consultation with the Fire Rescue Medical Director Dr. Steven Newman, directed that all North Port paramedic level employees be retested on the required material.

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