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Police Academy closes due to Covid, leaving cadets wondering when they’ll be able to complete their courses

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 6:53 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

Classes at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro have come to a halt due to Covid, delaying a Presque Isle officer’s completion of the program yet again.

Classes had been put on hold at the start of the pandemic, with cadets returning earlier this month to complete classes. Two cadets recently tested positive, resulting in participants being sent home a second time. Presque Isle Police Chief Laurie Kelly says Stephen St. Peter began classes last winter and should have graduated in May. He’s returned to the department, after testing negative.

“He is able to work. He’s had his testing and stuff, so he has - just has restrictions that he has to continue wearing a mask, even inside the department for the remainder of the 14 days, which would be November 28th. He’s considered low impact. Our cadet has taken and passed his certification exam - the final exam, which is - encompasses all kinds of stuff, from state, federal, local law, everything. So he’s done that but had to go back and finish these two things, along with 60 other plus cadets. And they just can’t seem to get these last two things accomplished, just because of Covid,” says Chief Laurie Kelly, of the Presque Isle Police Department.

Kelly says cadets were unable to complete Emergency Vehicle Operation Certification and Mechanics of Arrest Certification. She’s uncertain when he’ll be able to complete the training. St. Peter is the last of the current staff at PIPD needing to attend the Academy. Kelly expects to hire additional officers after the New Year, but it’s unknown when those individuals would be able to attend classes. Kelly says this has put a big strain on many departments, since officers are in short supply.

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