Already facing a staffing crisis, the Seattle Police Department is bracing for the possibility that hundreds of officers will fail to meet an Oct. 18 vaccination deadline.
As of Oct. 6, 292 sworn personnel had yet to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. That number is down from 354 on Tuesday.
To add another layer of concern, Seattle PD Spokesperson Sgt. Randy Huserik confirmed to FOX 13 News that there are an additional 111 officers awaiting results of exemption requests. Those 111 are not counted in the 292 figure – meaning if their accommodations are denied, the actual number of unvaccinated officers could be as high as 403.
"We value each of you, and do not want to lose you as employees," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told city staff in an email Monday. "But the people that count on you the most are the ones that need you to get vaccinated."
Seattle PD has already lost more than 300 officers since the height of the defunding debate in 2020--putting the number of deployable personnel close to 1,000.