Report: 1,700 Iowa Firefighters Given Invalid Certifications

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Public Safety says more than 1,700 Iowa firefighters and emergency responders have been issued improper credentials due to improper test scoring over a four-year period.

The department announced Tuesday its former employee, Fire Training Service Bureau Certification and Accreditation Coordinator John McPhee, is charged with misconduct in office and tampering with records. McPhee turned himself in Tuesday to the Story County Sheriff’s Office.

The department says a months-long review found that nearly 2,300 certifications were improperly issued to 1,706 firefighters and emergency personnel from February 2012 through February 2016. That’s nearly 25 percent of the certifications the agency issued.

The certifications aren’t required by the state or nationally but many departments require or recommend them for employees.

The department says it’s notifying the affected individuals, and the bureau is offering a free training course and free test retakes.

The department released McPhee’s jail booking photo but said it didn’t have a copy of the complaint against him.

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