Many states across the country have been mandated that their public servants get the COVID-19 vaccination. Governor Jay Inslee in Washington has mandated that it include law enforcement.
No Religious Exemptions
According to his office, any officer who does not get the shot will be fired. Any Washington State Patrol employees who want to keep their job have until Oct. 18th.
To make matters more difficult, many WSP employees found emails in their inboxes telling them that there will be "no accommodation" for the employees who have "religious exemption requests."
Human resources has consulted with the state's attorney legal team, addressing the order from Inslee. However, those who have already submitted requests are expecting them to be denied.
“I wish I had better news on this as I know many of us have been waiting to hear back regarding accommodation requests,” a high-ranking member of the WSP said in the email, according to KTTH. “I know this is hard news to hear for many of us. I wanted to share this with you directly as soon as I found out instead of waiting for the daily bulletin to come out.”
So far, there has not been a final decision regarding medical vaccine exemptions. Though according to the email, those who want medical exemptions “will have to take leave during that waiting period until they can come back to work fully vaccinated."
According to WSP Trooper Phillip Berg, the agency will have a massive staffing crisis if no exemptions are given.
The mandate was given on August 9th, giving a little more than two months for employees to get vaccinated. Inslee also said testing will not be an option.
An internal poll showed that only 19 troopers said that mandatory vaccinations are the way to go. In sharp contrast, 499 think that mandatory is not necessary or just disagree.
The more alarming number is the 295 who say they would rather be fired. Trooper Robert LaMay, who has been with WSP for 22 years.
“I mean, we’re talking, just patrol, 400 or 500, 600 people. We have probably 800 guys that actually really work the road, the rest of them are management positions, things of that nature," said LaMay.
Overall, it is a large number of officers to lose at a time where they can't afford to lose any.