SPD to terminate six officers over vaccine mandate, 103 await decision on exemptions

Oct 19, 2021, 1:02 PM
Seattle police, vaccine mandate...
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

The Seattle Police Department reports that it has begun the separation process with six employees over the newly-implemented vaccine mandate for city workers.

Washington State Patrol terminates 127 employees over vaccine mandate

Those six employees will be entitled to a legally mandated Loudermill hearing, where they will be permitted to argue their case before the chief of police.

An additional 103 SPD employees combined between sworn officers and civilian workers submitted requests for either a medical or religious exemption. Even if an exemption is approved, they could still be terminated if the city opts not to provide accommodations, particularly if an employee’s role requires them to be in frequent contact with members of the public.

Those 103 employees will go on leave for the time being, with a “decision on when and whether they will be allowed to return to work determined in the coming weeks.”

In the meantime, SPD warns that “there may be some impacts to service levels, especially given our loss in staffing over the past two years.”

“To that end, the department has developed a series of plans to provide the best level of service, including augmenting patrol staffing with officers from the Community Response Group first, before detectives and other non-patrol sworn employees are asked to return to the streets,” it said in a news release.  “We will continue to respond to emergency situations. We will continue to investigate crimes. We will continue to work to keep the City of Seattle safe.”

Other law enforcement agencies have reported staffing losses of their own as a result of the vaccine mandate. That includes Washington State Patrol, which terminated 127 employees this week, comprising roughly 6% of its 2,200 employees.

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SPD to terminate six officers over vaccine mandate, 103 await decision on exemptions