Several public security officers tested positive for COVID-19 during a joint training course organized by the Aiken Public Security Ministry.
According to Lt. Jennifer Hayes, ADPS public information officer, public security officers from North Augusta joined officers from the Aiken Public Security Department for an in-house training course at the Academy of firefighters in Aiken.
“There were officers who were in training and who contracted or tested positive for COVID,” confirmed Tim Thornton, NAPS public information officer. “We have officers who just take them out of circulation and they might have a minor case of COVID, and there are other officers who have fallen victim to it a little more seriously.”
Thornton said some officers had received “medical treatment” to fight the virus.
North Augusta Public Safety said it was difficult to determine the origin of the virus.
“We are in the midst of a sort of epidemic within public safety where so many officers have been affected,” Thornton said. “We are constantly looking to see if we can find a common denominator. But at this point, there is no evidence that this is any particular thing. “
Another aspect that complicates contact tracing is that agents constantly answer calls, risking exposure.
“Our officers continue to serve, protect and respond to calls,” Thornton said. “We have certain protocols in place where our dispatch will learn about COVID situations for our response officers. And we will take the necessary steps to minimize exposure, but some situations do not allow that luxury. “
North Augusta Public Safety said the incident did not catch them off guard and that they had no personnel issues.
“Law enforcement is constantly in a position where we might need to call on additional resources – we might have training issues, we might have SWAT operations, we might have big events that require more time. ‘agents than normal. So we are constantly evaluating our labor needs and our labor availability, ”said Thornton. “So in this situation, if we take a hit, we have the resources within our staff that we can afford to fill the gap.”
Thornton said there are no plans to change future training courses.
“I doubt that will change anything,” he said. “We’ll just have to adapt as we go through what appears to be another wave of COVID issues. “