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Wave of Sickness Hits APD Academy

By Hailey Heinz
Journal Staff Writer
       More than half of the cadets training to become Albuquerque police officers are sick this week, due to an upper respiratory condition that has brought their training to a temporary halt.
    Training Director Lt. Dan Cafferkey said 12 sick cadets is unprecedented in his time at the academy, and so is the academy's decision to send them home and modify training for those who remain.
    "It's just kind of unheard-of for the academy to do something like this," Cafferkey said. "Normally, we just press through if cadets are sick."
    The 12 cadets were sent home Tuesday, at the recommendation of an Albuquerque Fire Department unit that set up a triage to assess the situation. All have a respiratory infection, including one person diagnosed with walking pneumonia and another with bronchitis. Six academy staff members are also sick with respiratory infections, Cafferkey said.
    The 10 healthy cadets remained at the academy Tuesday for training that was modified to suit a smaller group.
    Cafferkey was hopeful training could resume today after a city epidemiologist checks in with the sick cadets. The epidemiologist will try to trace the infection to see how it started and how the academy might prevent such a rapid spread in the future.
    Cadets first reported feeling sick Thursday, and Cafferkey said the physical contact demanded by the training probably contributed to the spread.
    "It's like an elementary school, the way we run the academy," he said. "They're all in one class, then they're rolling around on the mats doing defensive tactics. It's no wonder it spread so quickly."
    In the meantime, Cafferkey said the healthy cadets are washing their hands often and continuing with their training as best they can. He said the class still should be able to graduate as scheduled in October.

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