A top police union says “dozens” of Massachusetts troopers will resign after a judge denied its bid to delay the COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.
The State Police Association of Massachusetts said the troopers plan to seek employment at departments with “reasonable alternatives” such as mask-wearing or regular testing.
The union is disappointed by a judge’s ruling last week that refused to delay Mr. Baker’s mandate, which requires 42,000 state workers and contractors to get vaccinated or receive an exemption by Oct. 17. Those who don’t comply face termination.
“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,” SPAM President Michael Cherven said.
The union argued the state could offer alternatives to troopers who refused vaccination, including those who previously had COVID-19 and enjoyed antibodies.
Superior Court Judge Jackie Cowin rejected their argument on Thursday.
“Specifically, the public interest is, unquestionably, best served by stopping the spread of the virus, in order to protect people from becoming ill, ensure adequate supply of medical services, and curtail the emergence of new, deadlier variants of the virus,” the judge said.
The state police told the Association Press that no resignations had been received as of Friday.
Mr. Cherven said dozens of troopers have submitted resignation paperwork, however, so the state should expect shortfalls.
“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,” he said.