After several of its recruits tested positive for the coronavirus this week, Riverside County Sheriff’s officials decided to suspend academy training at Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, authorities said.

The center just south of Riverside will be closed to the public and the training center staff has been reduced while the department disinfects areas used for academy training, the Sheriff’s Department said Saturday in a news release announcing the COVID-19 cluster.

Officials made the decision to suspend training at the center on Thursday upon learning that a number of recruits tested positive for COVID-19, the department said.

Additional to a Sheriff’s academy, Riverside Community College and Cal Fire operate fire academies at the Ben Clark facility.

However, fire training is unaffected by the positive coronavirus cases since fire training takes place on the opposite end of the property from the Sheriff’s academy, said Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Fernando Herrera.

The Sheriff’s Department did not immediately release how many recruits tested positive for COVID-19 or the health condition of the recruits, while pledging to modify its recruit testing and training schedules to allow for more social distancing restrictions when academy courses resume.

Staff writer Brian Rokos contributed to this report. 


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