In memory of those troopers who died in the coronavirus pandemic, around 12 former Washington State Patrol (WSP), troopers laid their boots on Tuesday at the Washington State Capitol.
You think that we mean "lost" as in died from the virus? After refusing to follow Gov. Jay Inslees required that all state employees receive the coronavirus vaccination or present a valid excuse for exclusion, such as disability and religion. They were then given the option of being a police officer or anti-vaxxer, and they chose the latter.
According to local station KING 5, approximately 127 WSP employees were fired because they failed to provide documentation that vaccinations had been received. This included 67 officers, six sergeants and one captain. There were also 53 civilian employees who ranged from dispatchers to instructors to administrative staff. Chris Loftis, a spokesperson for the WSP, informed Gizmodo by email that 32 additional employees had voluntarily left the organization in the past three months. This included 15 resignations, 17 retirements, and 17 individuals who listed the mandate at least as part of their decision.
Loftis said that all separations were non-disciplinary. This means that the benefit package for WSP employees who leave would be the same as those who quit.
(Loftis stated that, while officers who are leaving must return their badges to the police, the hats of ex-cops are considered personal property and can be used as much or little as they like.
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In an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the mandate from being implemented, some troopers and corrections workers had sued the state. Dr. Anthony Fauci is the nation's top infectious disease expert and urged police to get vaccinated on Oct. 18. He said that more officers are dying from covid than other causes of death.
WSP seems to be overrepresented in the Washington state ex-employees as of Tuesday. The Associated Press reported that approximately 3% of the roughly 63,000 employees had been fired by the state Office of Financial Management. Another 2,887 (or 4.6%) were on pending status. This means they were either in the process of applying for accommodation, are planning to retire, or just about to get the vaccine.
Loftis said to KING that they have lost people with good hearts. ... We were well-prepared to make large, quick, and rapid personnel moves. This isn't an incident, it is a situation that continues and will have long-lasting impacts.
Because we have lost so many, it's almost like going to Washington Memorial after one has been lost. Barbara Werner, a 24-year WSP veteran, told KING 5 that it was like going there.
Werner said that what I do with my body was my business. This took me some time to get to grips with, but I'm just going to keep going.
Robert LaMay, another WSP officer, became a viral sensation after he recorded himself signing off via the dispatch system. LaMay explained to his colleagues that he was being asked for leave because he was dirty. He also said, "This is the last time you'll hear me in an state patrol car." Jay Inslee can also kiss my genitals.
According to the Washington Post LaMay promoted debunked theories regarding coronavirus vaccines. Are your daughters being sterilized? Is it sterilizing your sons? We don't know. (We know that this is a complete nonsense, but anti-vaxxers insist otherwise. LaMay claims that he and his family prayed about whether they should be vaccinated. He also said that he accepted other job opportunities as God's answer.
LaMay explained to the Post that this is where we are supposed to be. God will provide you with it, and hell will take care of your needs. He has been doing this all along.
Loftis stated that troopers are uniquely dedicated to their job. Loftis also said that a separation from employment can cause a person to feel less private or diplomatic. But, we all must remember that covid has caused harm in our state, as well as in the country, and the world.
Conservatives and anti-vaxxers have strongly opposed coronavirus vaccine regulations like the one in Washington. The President Joe Bidens administration will soon impose a federal employer mandate that large employers and federal contractors must have their employees sign a certificate that they have been vaccinated. Federal contractors and large employers will also be required to test for coronavirus once per week. Pew Research Center's September poll revealed a clear partisan divide in vaccination rates. 86% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents said they had received at most one dose of vaccines by mid-August, compared to 60% of Republicans or sympathizers.
Republicans claim that Biden's mandate will penalize workers and lead to large numbers of job terminations. However, most workers are expected have had their shots by the time the mandate takes effect. For the Conversation, researchers from the University of Florida wrote late last month that while 16% of respondents agreed that vaccines should be required by their employers, anecdotal evidence at companies that have already implemented these requirements shows that very few workers follow through. Employers may allow workers to choose weekly testing.
Ken Resnicow, a University of Michigan professor of public health, was one of the researchers of a study showing a correlation between conspiracy theories and/or the end of the world and people's willingness to fight the virus by wearing masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated. NPR interviewed him to explain that the belief in conspiracy theories and/or the apocalypse has led to people not receiving vaccines as a way of fighting tyranny and protecting their freedom. This dynamic is rare in many countries.
Resnicow said that this sensitive topic is often conflated to religion and evangelicalism. People are afraid to touch the third rail. We must confront the fact that science and religion are at odds, which is not always the case.
Loftis said that officers and other WSP employees are leaving with our gratitude and respect, as well as high hopes for a safe and prosperous future. Covid is a deadly disease and we hope the mandate will be effective in stopping its spread, as it has been costly.