NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — Dozens of state troopers are resigning in Massachusetts, according to the State Police Association of Massachusetts, over the state’s vaccine mandate, now that a judge denied a request from the state police union to put that plan on hold.
The police association did not offer specific numbers on resignations in the statement.
In August, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued an executive order requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccination by Oct. 17.
The state police association said in a statement:
“It is unfortunate that the Governor and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives.”michael cherven, state police assoc. of massachusetts
Union leaders say they proposed alternatives, including masks and regular COVID-19 tests. They say the state police force is already understaffed, making resignations especially hard.
The chairman of the National Troopers Coalition estimates about 20% of the Massachusetts state police force is unvaccinated.
While data is incomplete on what percentage of officers have been vaccinated nationally, rates for the country’s largest departments are below the national average, The Associated Press reports.
In New York, it is estimated about 36% of the city’s police department is unvaccinated, according to the NYPD commissioner.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that tracks law enforcement deaths, COVID-19 killed more officers last year than gun violence, car accidents and all other causes.
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Now, a growing number of officers around the country are working to persuade their fellow cops to get the shot.
“I was that skeptical dude,” said Sgt. Tom Jenkins with the Las Vegas Police Department. “I thought COVID was a joke.”
Jenkins was anti-vaccine and anti-mask until he caught the virus.
“It feels like somebody put a bag around your head and duct-taped your neck, where you can’t breathe,” Jenkins said. “Go get the shot. Get it for your family, get it for your co-workers, get it for your friends, get it for your spouses, get it for your kids. COVID is not a joke.”
Coral Gables, Florida police chief Ed Hudak is one of several police chiefs pushing for his officers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. See his interview on NewsNation Prime in the player below.