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COVID outbreak shuts down police academy

Northern Essex Community College police academy director Joshua Stokel talks to student officers. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Northern Essex Community College police academy director Joshua Stokel talks to student officers. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

A small coronavirus outbreak has halted instruction at one of the state's police academies.

Three student officers tested positive at Northern Essex Community College's academy.

The class was in its last week of instruction at a facility in Lawrence, role playing scenarios like responding to a loud house party or encountering a man wielding a knife.

But after a third student tested positive, academy director Josh Stokel sent the class home early and told them they have completed their 24-week training.

"You've made it to the end," he said. "This will just be a pain in the behind for us to figure out, but you can all take a deep breath and say, 'I made it.' You've made it."

Stokel said all the instructors and student officers were vaccinated. He said he hopes to hold the graduation ceremony, currently scheduled for Friday, on a day when all the graduates can attend.

The outbreak comes at a time when COVID-19 cases have popped up in some other institutions in Massachusetts — from schools to jails.

Related:

Ally Jarmanning Twitter Senior Reporter
Ally is a senior reporter focused on criminal justice and police accountability.

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