Dozens of state troopers in Massachusetts have handed in their resignation papers following the state’s recent COVID-19 vaccine mandate, CBS reported.
The state has now required the department’s employees to show proof of vaccination by the Oct. 17 deadline. State police employees could potentially risk losing their jobs if they fail to provide the necessary documentation.
According to the report, around 20% of the employees are not vaccinated, the State police union’s attorney said.
The State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) released a statement following the judge’s decision that read:
“Throughout COVID, we have been on the front lines protecting the citizens of Massachusetts and beyond. 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.”
The statement continued:
“To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork, some of whom plan to return to other departments offering reasonable alternatives such as mask-wearing and regular testing. 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.”
The tough call amongst state troopers follows a similar wave of resignations that occurred earlier this month in New York after officials at the Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville decided to stop delivering babies in its maternity unit due to a high number of unvaccinated staffers.
Six employees in the unit resigned, citing that they would rather quit than take the vaccine, while seven other staff members remained undecided about taking the shot, WWNY notes. The county health system’s CEO Gerald Cayer said during a news briefing that out of the hospital’s 165 staffers, 27% remain unvaccinated.
“We are unable to safely staff the service after Sept. 24,” Cayer told reporters during a briefing, according to Axios.
“It is my hope that the [New York] Department of Health will work with us in pausing the service rather than closing the maternity department,” he added.
The pause, which officially went into effect on Sept, 25, came just two days before the state’s deadline for health care workers to receive the vaccine.
Additionally, at least 125 employees at Indiana University Health recently resigned earlier this month after the hospital issued their vaccine mandate. According to Newsweek, employees were angry over IU Health’s strict protocol that warned staffers that they would be “placed on a two-week unpaid suspension,” if they failed to become fully inoculated against the virus by the Sept. 1 deadline.
The decision by the state troopers in Massachusetts came after a report published by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found that the leading cause of death for federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers nationwide isn’t gun violence or accused criminals resisting authority. It’s COVID-19.