BOSTON, Mass. — The State Police Association of Massachusetts says dozens of troopers are resigning their position with the Massachusetts State Police in response to the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“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,” Michael Cherven, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, said in a statement Monday.
“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.”
Governor Charlie Baker’s mandate applies to all executive department employees, including state troopers and state officials. The order, which goes into effect on October 17, requires employees to show proof of vaccination. Those who don’t get the shot could be “subject to disciplinary action” and fired, CBS News reported.
Cherven referred to the governor’s order as “one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives.”
“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,” Cherven added.
About 20 percent of State Police employees are not vaccinated, according to the union’s attorney, WBZ reported.
MSP spokesman Dave Procopio said the department is aware of only one trooper who has tendered a resignation citing the mandate.
“As of this morning, the Department has been notified by our human resources office of one Trooper who has definitively stated he will retire because of the vaccine mandate,” Procopio said in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday. “It is our understanding that other Troopers are considering resigning or retiring for that reason, but as of right now we are aware of only the one who has definitively said he will go.”