Seattle has done quite a lot over the last year and a half to discourage police staff recruiting and retention through the city government’s efforts to “defund the police” and many other large cities in blue states. Now the city could lose even more of its police department’s personnel this month when the city’s new COVID vaccine mandate might lead to mass terminations.
Leftist Democrat Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the strict vaccine mandate for all city employees in August. All employees are required to submit acceptable proof of vaccination or an approved exemption by October 18. Employees who fail to comply will be at risk of termination.
According to local news reports, 292 sworn law enforcement personnel with the Seattle Police Department have not yet provided proof of vaccination. A department spokesperson told local reporters that an additional 111 officers have exemption requests that are still pending.
That reporting indicates that more than 400 police department members are not currently complying with the mandate, amounting to around 40 percent of the city’s force. The department has already lost over 300 officers since 2020.
In the case of an unexpected loss of officers, the department has declared that all sworn staff will be available to respond to emergency 911 calls. On October 13, a “stage three mobilization plan” will be activated.
The plan would require all sworn employees, including detectives, training employees, any staffer with a patrol background to report in uniform and be ready to go out on emergency calls as needed.
The city police union says it is working with the city government to find ways for officers not receiving vaccines to comply with the mandate without being terminated. According to Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan, losing any officers at this time would be “harmful to our city’s present public safety situation.”
Solan added that the union would like to see the city acknowledge the staffing crisis, stating that there “has to be some reasonable accommodation” for unvaccinated officers.