Dozens of Massachusetts state troopers are resigning rather than be forced to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to union officials.
Gov. Charlie Baker has given an Oct. 17 deadline for executive department employees to prove they’ve been jabbed, an order the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) tried to block through the courts.
“It is unfortunate that the Governor and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives,” the association said in a statement after losing its legal battle.
“To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork,” claimed the association, which represents 1,800 members.
Some of those “plan to return to other departments offering reasonable alternatives such as mask-wearing and regular testing,” SPAM said.
“The State Police are already critically short-staffed and acknowledged this by the unprecedented moves which took troopers from specialty units that investigate homicides, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons, gangs, narcotics, and human trafficking, and returned them to uniformed patrol,” the union said.
The union has reported that 80 percent of its members are vaccinated, according to the Boston Globe.
“All we are asking for are the same basic accommodations that countless other departments have provided to their first responders, and to treat a COVID-related illness as a line of duty injury,” the union said.
Meanwhile, a State Police spokesman told the Globe on Monday that “the Department has been notified by our HR office of one Trooper who has definitively stated he will retire because of the vaccine mandate.”
“It is our understanding that other Troopers have indicated they may possibly resign or retire for that reason, but as of [Monday evening] we are aware of only the one,” the spokesman insisted.