The Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro is seen Nov. 16, 2020. Friday’s graduation ceremony was canceled because of COVID-19. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

The Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro canceled its formal graduation ceremony Friday for the 40th Basic Law Enforcement Training Program after a person associated with the academy tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

The positive test came Thursday night, prompting officials to cancel the in-person ceremony “out of an abundance of caution and to protect the safety of all those who planned to attend the event,” according to Shannon Moss, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Citing privacy concerns, Moss declined to provide additional information about the person who tested positive. She said the academy alerted all of the building staff, as well as cadets and anyone who may have had a close contact with the person, and that appropriate protocols from the agency and Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention were being followed.

There were 57 cadets graduating from the program, Moss said. A virtual ceremony is not planned instead because “the appropriate mechanisms are not in place to hold a virtual ceremony, although that is something we’re looking at for the future,” she said.

Rick Desjardins, director of the academy, said the cancellation “doesn’t in any way diminish the achievements this class has made over these 18 weeks of rigorous training and we are all very proud of their commitment to the law enforcement profession.”

The training program was described by Moss as “an intensive training made up of practical and academic training that prepares cadets for a career in law enforcement.” The program includes training on motor vehicle stops, defensive tactics, firearms training, and emergency vehicle operation and control. Cadets must also meet a rigorous physical training regimen, as they spend five days per week on campus while returning home on weekends.

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