The Seattle Police Department has lost roughly 300 officers since last year’s push to defund. It may lose 200 more officers over Mayor Jenny Durkan’s COVID vaccine mandate, according to a local radio host.
The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH says there are just over 200 officers who say they either haven’t been vaccinated against COVID or refuse to turn over their private medical data. That represents roughly 20% of the SPD’s deployable staff.
Under the vaccine mandate, city workers who do not get the shots will be terminated. The SPD, already stretched dangerously thin, cannot stand to lose any more officers.
The City of Seattle now says full vaccination against COVID is a condition of employment, regardless of one’s age, risk factors, or prior infection. Religious and medical exemptions are offered, but it’s unclear if the city will accommodate the requests.
City staff must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.
But some officers with the SPD do not believe the vaccine is necessary to do their job. Others don’t think the government has the right to data on private medical decisions, even if they may be vaccinated. It’s simply not the government’s business, some argue.
Durkan’s mandate was subject to impact bargaining with the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild (SPOG). The union has been negotiating with city leaders, and an agreement on terms could come this week or early next week. But it’s unclear how many of the 200 officers will be satisfied.
The SPD is already staffed at record lows not seen since the 1980s.