Washington State Patrol terminates 127 employees over vaccine mandate

Oct 19, 2021, 6:21 AM | Updated: 11:11 am
religious accommodation...
Washington State Patrol has terminated the employment of over 100 workers over the state's vaccine mandate. (WSP)

Washington State Patrol has terminated 127 employees — or 6% — in the wake of the newly-implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandate that took effect Monday.

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Of those 127 employees, 53 were civilian workers, while 74 were commissioned officers. Sixty-seven of those were state troopers; six were sergeants and one was a captain.

WSP did not specify whether the terminated employees were unvaccinated, or had received a religious exception but were unable to be accommodated. Rather, it stated that “for varying reasons and in varying ways,” they had been “separated from employment.”

“We will miss every one of them,” WSP Chief John Batiste said in a news release. “I extend a hardy thanks to those who are leaving the agency. I truly wish that you were staying with us. You have my utmost appreciation for the hard and successful work that you have provided during your valued WSP careers. You will forever have our respect for your courage and your commitment in all you have done on behalf of the agency.”

Batiste went on to note that he is also “forever thankful” for WSP’s remaining employees as well, vowing that he is “not going to ask you to do more with less.”

Local lawmaker pushes alternative for unvaccinated workers

“We shall do our very best to keep our remaining staff from becoming overburdened by these temporary losses,” he added. “We must now turn our attention to making sure we deploy our resources in a manner that continues to keep our roadways safe and meets the other core law enforcement responsibilities this agency has met with honor for over 100 years.”

The State Patrol has an estimated 2,200 employees working across eight separate districts. It’s unclear how these separations will affect the department’s operations, as the departures were “spread across the state impacting some areas differently than others.”

Moving forward, WSP will be monitoring its operations across its districts to determine whether adjustments need to be made to account for the loss of personnel.

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Washington State Patrol terminates 127 employees over vaccine mandate