FLETC Update on COVID-19
GLYNCO, Ga. – The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are determined to continue executing a strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FLETC remains focused on the security and safety of its staff, students, participating organizations and contractors.
Each year, FLETC and its federal partners train upwards of 67,000 law enforcement officers at FLETC’s in-residence training delivery points (TDPs) in New Mexico, South Carolina, Maryland, and Georgia. In response to the fast-spreading global pandemic, FLETC temporarily halted on-site training at all of its TDPs on March 20, 2020. This resulted in a delay of newly trained law enforcement officers to the field to perform federal agencies’ critical missions. FLETC’s training resumption planning efforts aim to strike the necessary balance between protecting the health and safety of on-Center and off-Center populations and mitigating negative impacts to our law enforcement partners’ vital national security missions.
FLETC restarted training on June 17, under the revamped training protocols in “Operation Reconstitution” FLETC’s training re-start plan. Phase I of FLETC’s plan called for completing the training that was interrupted on March 20. As FLETC nears completion of Phase 1, FLETC is executing Phase II, beginning the training programs of new students whose training FLETC postponed during the training pause.
“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.” said Director Thomas J. Walters.
Many of the measures in Phase I and Phase II of FLETC Operation Reconstitution, such as social distancing, enhanced personal hygiene, and face coverings are now in use in the federal workplace, in State and local governments, and in public and private institutions. FLETC, military, and law enforcement basic training institutions with an in-residence student population have adopted additional, more stringent measures in order to be able to perform their mission-essential functions in the COVID-19 environment. FLETC Operation Reconstitution incorporated the best practices of all, added additional features unique to the FLETC environment, and made all of those measures mandatory for all staff and students physically present on FLETC facilities.
Since restarting training, hundreds of new officers and agents have graduated and returned to their duty stations to execute law enforcement operations critical to protecting our homeland. FLETC remains dedicated to strict enforcement of COVID-19 mitigation strategies critical to maintaining the safety of our students, employees, contractors, and the local community.
Below are some of FLETC’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies:
COVID Screening and Isolation. Only authorized personnel are allowed access to FLETC training delivery points. All individuals accessing our facilities have their temperatures taken and are asked a series of COVID-19 screening questions before being granted access. All students undergo a 14-day isolation period after arrival and have temperature checks and COVID-19 screening twice during every scheduled training day.
COVID-19 Testing. FLETC and the DHS continue their partnership with the U.S. military to test incoming FLETC students for COVID-19 at all FLETC locations. Additionally, FLETC’s instructors and staff whose occupations require frequent close physical contact with students are also being tested for COVID-19. This testing capability is supervised by DHS medical personnel and has significantly enhanced FLETC’s ability to proactively identify potentially asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 positive individuals. Test results are typically back from the testing company within 48 hours.
Positive COVID-19 Response Procedures: FLETC has detailed response procedures to rapidly address any situation when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 or becomes symptomatic after training begins. Suspected and confirmed students are housed in special rooms set aside for the “sick-in-quarters” purpose. FLETC has response personnel assigned to each location who have completed a 40-hour certification course from the Johns Hopkins University to serve as Contact Tracers. This cadre of tracers performs contact tracing for any reported positive case within our student, staff, and contractor population groups. FLETC also works closely with local healthcare and emergency management officials, and hospitals at all training delivery points.
Teleworking. FLETC is maximizing telework where possible to minimize the number of staff coming onto and leaving Center each day. This has significantly reduced the footprint of FLETC both within our facilities and the surrounding community.
Face Coverings and Social Distancing. Consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FLETC has instituted requirements for all personnel (to include contractors) to wear face coverings under specific conditions and to maintain social distancing. Signage has been placed throughout the training venues to remind staff and students of these requirements, and seating has been spaced appropriately wherever possible.
COVID-19 Updates: On a weekly basis, FLETC informs staff and participating organizations of the previous week’s COVID-19 cases.
“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,” said FLETC Director Walters. “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.”
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