Riverside County Sheriffs Academy Closes after Positive COVID-19 Cases
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — In the wake of several recruits testing positive for COVID-19, the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, which offers comprehensive law enforcement, fire, and correctional custody public safety training for law enforcement and fire agencies throughout California, recently announced that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department had temporarily suspended their academy training program.
Although officials have made no connections, the announcement comes on the heels of the death of one of the academy’s recruits early last August, as well as the COVID-19 related deaths of two of their department members; including Deputies Terrell Young and Dave Werksman, who both died of COVID-19 complications within hours of each other last April.
Since the agency’s Thursday, Nov. 19 announcement, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Albert Martinez has said the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is and will continue working with Public Health and following the appropriate isolation and quarantine measures for their staff and recruits.
“In an effort to mitigate further exposure to COVID-19, the Ben Clark Training Center is closed to the public and all academy staff has been reduced, allowing non-critical staff to telecommute,” Martinez explained. “During this suspension, the department will be thoroughly disinfecting the academy and any area in which the staff and recruits have access.”
Once training resumes, recruits will continue the following practices in an effort to slow the spread; including social distancing, daily temperature checks, masks mandated at all times unless performing physical activity, cleaning and disinfecting classroom areas, and hand-washing during every break, according to the Sergeant.
“The Department will also modify its future recruit testing and training schedules to accommodate social distancing restrictions,” said Martinez.