Georgia Public Safety Commissioner Resigns After Cheating Scandal

Feb 13, 2020

Gov. Brian Kemp asked the state's public safety commissioner to resign after a rocky few months for the agency that oversees the Georgia State Patrol and Capitol Police Division. 

The Board of Public Safety accepted the resignation of Mark McDonough Thursday. McDonough was appointed to this role by then-Gov. Nathan Deal in 2011 and had been with the department since 1995. 

Last month, McDonough announced the Department of Public Safety fired an entire class of Georgia State Patrol Troopers wrapped up in a cheating scandal on an important exam.

“It’s a punch in the gut,” McDonough said in a press conference Jan. 29. “Our whole mode is to produce an officer that the public can trust. This goes to our very core values, and so it is something that is difficult to swallow.”

 DPS was also in the spotlight after conflicting reports emerged about the timeline of events that led to a man breaking into the state Capitol and causing massive damage.  WSB-TV reported in January that officials gave a statement detailing how the man got in without actually reviewing surveillance footage from the Georgia Building Authority.  In 2019, the department was one of several agencies crippled by cyberattacks, with the AJC reporting at the time digital files for more than 350,000 cases were locked out for months.  In a statement, Kemp said he wished McDonough "the very best in the years ahead" and thanked him for his service.