Interim SPD Chief: Likely ‘hundreds’ of unvaccinated police officers with deadline approaching

Oct 1, 2021, 1:03 PM | Updated: 1:03 pm
Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, unvaccinated officers, seattle police...
SPD Chief Adrian Diaz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

With the deadline for Seattle city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 fast approaching, interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz expressed concerns Friday over the large number of officers who have yet to submit proof of vaccination.

King County reaches deal with ‘majority’ of unions on vaccine mandate

That came in the form of a letter Diaz issued to the department, “asking anyone who has not yet submitted this information to please get it done.”

“At the moment – we have to assume we have hundreds of unvaccinated individuals based on the information submitted,” he cautioned. “This could create a disruption to unit of assignments.”

That’s consistent with an early September report from the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, estimating that over 200 officers at the time were either not vaccinated or were refusing to turn over their medical data to the city.

As of publishing, the Seattle Police Officers Guild is one of the few city worker unions that has yet to reach an agreement with the mayor’s office on the upcoming vaccine mandate.

Gov. Inslee: State ‘not considering’ offering extension for worker vaccine mandate

The mayor’s office reached a deal with the Coalition of City Unions, Seattle Fire Fighters Union Local 27, and IBEW Local 77 last week. That agreement grants members of those unions several incentives for getting fully vaccinated, including eight extra hours of paid time off, and up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID-related reasons.

Exceptions were carved out in that deal as well, allowing participating union employees to keep their jobs if they begin the vaccination process by Oct. 18, and then be placed on leave until enough time has passed to where they are fully vaccinated. Frontline workers get an additional benefit in the form of a one-time $1,750 payment.

An employee vaccine mandate for Seattle, King County, and state workers is currently scheduled to take effect on Oct. 18. Monday, Oct. 4, would mark the final day for workers who aren’t yet fully vaccinated to receive their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Chief Diaz noted that officers have until Oct. 5 to submit their proof of vaccination, or risk losing their jobs. SPD has lost an estimated 270 officers to retirements and resignations since early 2020.

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Interim SPD Chief: Likely ‘hundreds’ of unvaccinated police officers with deadline approaching