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Law enforcement training resumes despite coronavirus

Federal law enforcement officers are increasing at the center of protests in cities across the country continue. At least one person was shot in what has become permanent protest space in Portland.

Over the weekend, demonstrators clashed with federal agents in cities from Seattle to Atlanta. Some have mistakenly called these agents troops. They are actually members of law enforcement.

These agents are trained at a number of federal law enforcement training centers across the country, including a large facility in Glynn County.

Due to COVID-19, these Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers and the Department of Homeland Security temporarily stopped on-site training at all of its in-residence training delivery points on March 20, which caused a delay. It restarted training on June 17, called “Operation Reconstitution.”

Each year, FLETC and its federal partners train more than of 67,000 law enforcement officers at its campuses in Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina and Maryland.

“We continue to learn, adapt and apply risk mitigation efforts to our training and living environments. The FLETC enterprise is working together to test, identify, isolate and contain the COVID-19 virus in order to keep and maintain safe training and working conditions. In today’s world, zero risk is not attainable, but getting as close to that number as possible is my daily charge.” FLETC Director Thomas Walters said.

The training center in Glynn County is entering Phase 2, which will begin training programs of new students whose training was postponed because of the delay.

New measures are in place, including:

  • social distancing
  • enhanced personal hygiene
  • face coverings

FLETC said it's now implementing the following COVID-19 mitigation strategies:

  • only those authorized will be allowed at the training sites
  • everyone will have their temperatures taken and are asked COVID-19 screening questions
  • all students undergo a 14-day isolation period after arrival

Should a staff member or student test positive, FLETC said those individuals would be housed in special rooms set aside for the “sick-in-quarters.”

It said it's also minimizing the number of staff at the center.

“FLETC is the only institution in the U.S. that has the capability and capacity to train the new federal officers that will replace the thousands of officers that retire from federal service in a typical year,” Walters said “We understand the critical nature of our mission, and we learn every day how to better protect our ability to execute that mission while we protect our students, staff, and the people of the communities in which we operate.”

The training centers adapt to the times, holding a graduation Thursday online so families could watch from home.

Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf is expected to tour Glynco’s Brunswick Campus on Tuesday.


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