COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Among the many unexpected consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19 is a delay in police training of new deputies joining the El Paso County Sheriff's office.
The El Paso County Sheriff's non-certified police academy moved to virtual instruction on April 2, which was not even a month after classes began.
The academy typically takes eight to ten weeks to complete, but now it may take even longer.
There are currently 18 people enrolled in the non-certified academy, each of whom are required to complete eight hours of online coursework per day.
But because of some physical requirements - the graduation for non-certified officers may be pushed back depending on when those requirements can be completed.
Officials say the skills portion of the academy - like driving, firearms, and defense tactics - can't be completed until the stay-at-home order is lifted.
Once it is, it will take participants about two to three weeks to get through those physical requirements.
The county also has a post-certified academy that was set to start in May.
Officials say depending on the circumstances - they are prepared to operate that academy virtually, as well.
"What we are gaining is having virtual in-service," says Jackie Kirby, public information officer for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. "Each deputy sheriff and each civilian employee has to have a certain amount of in-service hours per year - including post-certified officers.
Officers who graduate from the non-certified are not able to affect an arrest, and most go on to work at the El Paso County Jail after graduation.
The sheriff's office says they are confident in their ability to train future officers virtually for those jobs - both in the non-certified and post-certified academies.