Aug 31 — Two public safety officers died following a joint fire training course in early August.
Aiken Public Safety Officer Kevin Simmons and North Augusta Public Safety Officer Dustin Michael Beasley have each died after contracting COVID-19.
On August 12, the Aiken Standard reported that several officers tested positive for COVID-19 during a multi-week joint fire training course hosted by the Aiken Public Security Ministry.
Public security officers from North Augusta participated in the training with public security officers from Aiken. Simmons and Beasley both attended the class, Tim Thornton of North Augusta Public Safety confirmed Tuesday.
It is not known how many officers from each agency participated in the course and how many contracted COVID-19.
Thornton previously said he would not disclose the number of officers participating in the training course who contracted COVID-19 “because it will all appear to be from the training exercise, and we cannot determine if that is. that’s where it comes from or not, “he said.
ADPS Lt. Jennifer Hayes said “masks and vaccines are not mandatory but encouraged” at the facility.
“We continue to work with our city nurse to monitor the latest CDC guidelines and other applicable guidelines to update policies to keep our staff and citizens safe,” said Hayes.
After Beasley’s death on Monday, ADPS said they “have no plans to discontinue joint training in the future.”
Simmons died on August 15 and Beasley died on August 30.
Simmons, 43, began his career at the Aiken Public Security Department on May 10, 2021 as a public security officer in training.
Beasley, 30, began his career in the Barnwell Sheriff’s Office and served in the Williston Police Department and the South Carolina Highway Patrol before starting with NADPS in December 2020.