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CSI law enforcement academy is seeing an increase in enrollment this semester

COVID-19 is not impacting training or enrollment.
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 8:45 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - COVID-19 is impacting college student’s everyday lives, from wearing a face mask and social distancing to wiping down their desk, so how are classes that require physical contact instructing students, such as police officers in training.

The College of Southern Idaho’s law enforcement academy welcomed a new class this Fall and KMVT talked to students and their instructors on Tuesday morning to see if COVID-19 is impacting their training at all and if enrollment is down.

The law enforcement academy students ran through an active shooter drill on the 2nd floor hallways of the Canyon Building Tuesday, but this is probably the first time students have had to wear face masks during the exercise.

“Our motto is improvise, overcome. We just change with the environment,” said Robert Storm, who is the director of the CSI Law Enforcement Academy.

He said like any other class at CSI students have to wear a face mask to class, social distance, and sanitize their desks before and after class as well as perform temperature checks daily. Storm said COVID-19 has not impacted enrollment this semester; in fact, the class is bigger than last year.

“This class is great. We have 14 students this semester. Everyone is doing wonderfully. They are responding to the training,” Storm said.

Gustavo Angel Cervantes who is a student in the class said for him the biggest obstacle so far is the face mask.

“Sometimes listening to the instructor and sometimes when we are running around it gets a little harder to breathe,” Cervantes said.

Sgt. Keith Thompson, of the Idaho State Patrol who was instructing the students during the active shooter drill Tuesday, said because of the masks instructors have to make sure they are a little clearer in their speech and annunciation. They also have to make sure we are a little bit louder, but for the most part, Thompson said it’s not impacting it too bad.

Haley Brown, who is also a student in the class, said students are allowed to perform physical exercises, but they have to use hand sanitizers before and after each drill. She said she doesn’t feel like COVID-19 impacting the training one bit.

“It is awesome. It’s great. They put together an awesome program,” Brown said.

She said she has had a lot of friends go through the program, and they have said a lot of goods things about it. Brown said she likes how the instructors break it down slow, so students can get their technique down until slowly gets faster and more realistic.

Brown, like the others, said the face mask can be annoying sometimes because if an instructor is making a joke it’s hard to tell because the students can see the person’s face.

Many of the students KMVT talked to on Tuesday said the thing they were most concerned about was if the class was going to be online or in-person.

Storm said last semester when COVID hit the law enforcement academy, like many classes across the state, reverted to Zoom for some of the lecture classes, and he and his students did that for a couple of weeks until the law enforcement academy was given permission to finish the semester with the in-person and scenario classes.

The instructors said this semester the classes are fully in person, and they are doing all of the skills and knowledge necessary for students to be certified as a basic police officer. Storm said they are doing all of the driving, shooting, fingerprinting, and drills. They are doing all the skills and everything in between

Thompson said the students are adjusting very well to the COVID-19 protocols, and he is looking forward to seeing the students out on the road after they graduate and part of the“thin blue line”.

The class is sixteen weeks and Storm said, if by chance, somebody does test positive for COVID-19, by CSI policy, that student would have to self isolate for 14 days, but so far his class had had no issues.

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