Seattle Police Department mobilizes for officer shortage due to vaccine mandate

Oct 6, 2021, 3:10 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm
Seattle police...
(Photo courtesy of Derek Simeone via Flickr)
(Photo courtesy of Derek Simeone via Flickr)

The Seattle Police Department is telling all of its officers to be prepared to handle 911 calls, in the event that hundreds are fired for defying the city’s COVID vaccine mandate.

Sergeant Randy Huserik says an email was sent to personnel telling them to be ready to move to “Stage 3 Mobilization” on Oct. 13. That’s just days ahead of the city’s vaccine deadline, on Oct. 18.

“Every other unit outside of the patrol operations bureau is to report to work and be suited up in their uniform to be prepared to deploy to handle 911 calls,” Huserik said.

When asked whether 911 response times will get longer, he answered: “It’s hard to say exactly what our numbers are going to be and what exactly we’re going to need.”

But he stressed it’s only a contingency plan.

“Hopefully, we get our vaccine verification down to zero and this becomes a non-issue,” he said.

When Huserik spoke to KIRO Radio at noon on Wednesday, he pointed out that 64 more officers had turned in proof overnight that they’d either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or a had a valid exemption. That still leaves 292 at risk of being fired when the city’s vaccination mandate takes effect.

SPD reports a third of all officers haven’t provided proof of vaccination ahead of deadline

This comes on top of a staffing shortage that hit the department in 2020, which has been largely attributed to the “defund the police” movement.

Sources tell KTTH that, year to date, 149 officers have left the Seattle Police Department, bringing the total to 335 in the last two years.

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Seattle Police Department mobilizes for officer shortage due to vaccine mandate