SPOG Reaction to the City of Seattle’s Vaccine Mandate
As we are all aware, today is the deadline for officers of the Seattle Police Department to upload their COVID-19 Vaccine Verifications. According to the City of Seattle, failure to do so will lead to separation from city employment. This means more losses of police jobs and an alarming escalation in crime which may lead to an untenable public safety crisis. While the SPOG is continuing to negotiate in good faith, the city is still moving forward with their mandate and acting in bad faith.
Throughout the last nineteen months, SPOG members have continued to comply with CDC guidelines to keep our community safe. SPOG members answered your 911 calls for help even while exposing ourselves to the virus. And while working on the front lines, our COVID-19 transmittal rates have been extremely low.
As we’ve lost close to three hundred and fifty police officers on the street in the last year and a half, protecting the officers still left to answer 911 calls is of critical importance. Approximately one hundred of these officers have applied for and were approved for medical and religious exemptions from the mayor’s mandate. Instead of working to find reasonable accommodations, the City of Seattle has chosen to deny these officers the ability to continue to serve the public. Though we’ve read in the media that the department is working toward accommodations, the SPOG believes this is untrue. We have been told that all religious accommodations will be denied. Additionally, today, our members who had received medical accommodations received word that “SPD is unable to identify a reasonable accommodation for your current position” and these officers will no longer be allowed to be police officers. One of these officers is an organ transplant recipient who cannot get the vaccine(s) due to anti-rejection medication. Another is a pregnant female officer who has a contraindication to the vaccine(s). These officers want to continue to serve the public but are now sadly being made to choose between their life or their job.
Seattle Police Officers’ Guild President Mike Solan said the following, “SPOG members want to continue to show up tomorrow to serve our community. These terrific human beings want to be the ones who answer the 911 calls for help. SPOG has requested that the City of Seattle follow other large American cities such as San Jose, Chicago and Milwaukee as they have allowed reasonable accommodations for their police officers through masking and testing. SPOG believes that this is a reasonable request to slow down the spiraling staffing crisis currently facing the Seattle Police Department. Though we’ve heard and seen the city’s media blitz today on the current vaccine verification numbers, SPOG has asked the city for clarification on these numbers as we believe that the city is not being fully transparent. Trading the COVID-19 public health crisis for a looming public safety staffing crisis is gross mismanagement. SPOG believes that this isn’t about whether or not you’re vaccinated, it is strictly about saving jobs and continuing to provide public safety to the City of Seattle.”
The Seattle Police Officers’ Guild is proud to represent the remaining Seattle Police Officers still serving our community and we believe the profession of law enforcement is noble. Police officers are fantastic human beings.