The U.S. police departments that require officers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 face resistance from some pockets. This could lead to law enforcement being unable or unwilling to do their job and threaten public safety.
Officers and police unions are attempting to stop the mandates by filing lawsuits. Chicago’s police union head called for members to ignore the Friday deadline by which the city required them to report their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Seattle’s police department dispatched detectives and other officers to respond to emergencies this week due to a shortage in patrol officers. Union leaders are concerned that the situation will get worse with vaccine mandates.
These standoffs occur at a moment when many police departments are already dealing with rising homicide rates as well as staff shortages that are not related to the vaccine. Now, cities and police chiefs are weighing the possibility of losing more officers due to resignations, firings, or suspensions for refusing to get vaccinated.
Chicago’s mayor filed a complaint against the leader of the local Fraternal Or of Police on Friday. He accused him of “engaging, supporting, and encouraging work stoppage” by saying that the city’s 12,000 uniformed officers should disregard the directive to report their vaccination status.
Lori Lightfoot, the Mayor of Toronto, stated that officers will not be sent home if Friday’s arrival is not acceptable. Instead, she stated that they would be placed on unpaid leave following the weekend as confirming compliance would take several days.
Lightfoot stated that refusing to give the information would be an act of subordination.
John Catanzara is the president of FOP Chicago. He stated that about half of his members are not vaccinated. This mandate, he said, was “absolutely wrong.”
He said that they were willing to accept a no-pay status at night and be sent home, suggesting that the city couldn’t afford to lose officers.
“You know the truth, we have a job that nobody wants right now. He said that they cannot get anyone to join this police academy.”
Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said that he will not force his 18,000 employees to get vaccinated, despite a county mandate. He stated last week that he didn’t want to have to force his 18,000 employees to vaccinate overnight.
Many police officers in San Diego stated that they would rather quit than comply with a vaccination mandate.