Sept. 28, 2021 -- Dozens of Massachusetts State Police troopers plan to resign over the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, a police union says.

Some of the troopers plan to return to other municipal departments that offer alternatives, such as regular testing and wearing masks.

“To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork,” Michael Cherven, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, a union that represents about 1,800 officers, said in a statement.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced that all executive department employees, including state troopers and state officials, must show proof of vaccination or be “subject to disciplinary action” and termination. The order goes into effect on Oct. 17.

Last week, a judge denied the police union’s request to pause the mandate, CBS News reported. The union said the state needed to bargain with workers before putting a mandate in place. About 20% of the state police employees are unvaccinated.

“The State Police are already critically short-staffed and acknowledged this by the unprecedented moves which took troopers from specialty units that investigate homicides, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons, gangs, narcotics and human trafficking, and returned them to uniformed patrol,” Cherven said.

“Throughout COVID, we have been on the front lines protecting the citizens of Massachusetts and beyond,” he said. “Simply put, all we are asking for are the same basic accommodations that countless other departments have provided to their first responders, and to treat a COVID-related illness as a line of duty injury.”

But Baker has no intention of budging on the vaccine mandate, saying that it will help the state to lead the country in vaccinations, CBS News reported. More than 78% of adults in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated, according to the latest CDC data, compared with 67% of the nation.

“I think it’s critically important for public officials who deal directly with the public on a regular basis, who have no idea whether the people they’re dealing with are vaccinated or not,” the governor told reporters on Monday. “And those people who are dealing with [public officials] ought to believe that they are vaccinated.”

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

CBS News: “Massachusetts State Police troopers will resign over mandatory COVID vaccine mandate, union says.”

State Police Association of Massachusetts: “State Police Assoc. of Massachusetts (SPAM) Statement on Judge’s ruling and Governor Baker’s Vaccine Mandate.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”

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