Police unions in major cities around the country are engaged in heated fights over vaccine mandates—with departments in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles threatening staffing shortages—but many cities are not seeing the mass exits claimed by unions as mandates start taking effect.
In New York City, where the vaccine mandate went into effect on Nov. 1, less than 1% of police officers have been sent home for refusing to get vaccinated.
NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea said that 89 officers are on unpaid leave as of Tuesday, a far cry from the 10,000 officers that the NYPD union predicted would quit in response to the city’s vaccine mandate.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has repeatedly warned the county’s vaccine mandate is causing “mass exodus” in his department after it went into effect Oct. 1.
Fewer than half of the sheriff’s patrol officers are vaccinated, the Los Angeles Times reports, and the county is in the process of sending out notices to unvaccinated officers giving them 45 days to comply or request an exemption before they face a five-day suspension.
After Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate went into effect last month, which sparked protests and prompted a lawsuit, approximately 3% of the Washington State Patrol failed to comply by the deadline—67 state troopers, six sergeants and one captain were placed on unpaid leave, according to a statement from WSP.
In Massachusetts, where approximately 90% of state patrol officers are complying with the vaccine mandate, according to the governor’s office, three officers resigned in response to the mandate, the Boston Herald reports—far from the 150 officers the police union claimed submitted paperwork to resign.
It’s unclear exactly how many police departments across the country are pushing back against vaccine mandates, but unions from Seattle to Baltimore have resisted mandatory vaccines. In cities like Chicago and Minneapolis, where mandates have yet to take effect, police and city officials are engaged in legal battles. A Chicago judge temporarily halted the city from enforcing a Dec. 31 deadline until the issue can be addressed in arbitration, the latest development in a clash so contentious that a separate judge ordered the police union president to stop making public statements, WBEZ reports.
257. That’s how many American police officers have died of Covid-19 in 2021, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks on-duty police deaths.
Indiana officials have been inviting Chicago police officers to work in their state. Sen. Mike Braun (R-I.N.) encouraged thousands of Chicago cops to consider a position in Indiana in a statement to Fox News in October. “Indiana’s police departments are hiring now and will welcome you with the respect you deserve,” Braun said, adding that many police departments in the state don’t have vaccine mandates.
Over 2,000 FDNY firefighters called out sick Monday in protest of the city’s vaccine mandate, FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro said. New York firefighters have been the least compliant with the mandate out of all city employees, with nearly 25% of the workforce still unvaccinated.
Sheriff warns vaccine mandate causing ‘mass exodus’ among personnel (The Los Angeles Times)