Seattle police patrol cars with Gadsden flags draped from their windows appeared in photos on social media Monday just hours before the vaccine mandate for Washington state went into effect.
“Some officers plan on taking time off to decide what they will do long term. They don’t seem eager to stay with SPD,” radio host Jason Rantz tweeted, along with the photos. “Others explained that they are going to leave the SPD by the end of the year as a result of this. Officers took these photos in protest of the mandate.”
On Sunday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan sent a final email begging Seattle police officers to take the shot.
According to Fox News, Washington state employees were required to submit proof of having taken the COVID-19 vaccination by Monday. Officers who failed to provide evidence of the COVID-19 vaccine will not face immediate termination, but will be subjected to a “Loudermill hearing,” at which they will be able to publicly explain why they refused to comply, Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan explained.
Seattle businesses are concerned the mandate will lead to staffing shortages at the department, which will likely result in longer waits for emergency calls.
“I feel like I’m on my own. I can’t get help from anywhere. I just open the door every day and don’t know if I’m going to go home safe and good to my family or if something is going to happen,” said Maher Youssef, owner of Youssef’s Pluto Organic Café, according to KING5 News. “The tourists are not going to come, the people are not going to go out of their home to buy things. It’s going to be like a ghost city.”
After the Seattle Police Department lost more than 180 police officers in 2020, Chief Diaz said a staffing crisis has continued in the city, and another 66 officers quit by April 2021.
Last year, Mayor Durkan supported an effort by the city council to cut the police department budget, saying she “[applauds] the City Council for taking a more deliberate and measured approach to the 2021 Seattle Police Department budget.”
Also in Seattle, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Washington State Capitol building earlier this month in protest of the vaccine mandate.
“We’re adults and we know how to take care of ourselves,” said Kelly Coyle, former state Department of Transportation employee and protest attendee. “I don’t believe you should force someone to inject something in their body that they don’t want and lose your livelihood.” Coyle said she was forced to retire early due to Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate.