Vaccine Mandate Leading to Layoffs? A Check-In With Yakima Police
Some are retiring early but the Yakima Police Department isn’t expected to see a mass exodus because of the COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
LOCAL OFFICERS ARE NOT UNDER A MANDATE TO VACCINATE
That’s because unlike the other cities like Seattle, Yakima city officials have not made it a requirement to get the vaccine to keep a job. Yakima Police officials say some officers are choosing early retirement because of the new police reform laws in Washington State. But Yakima Police Recruiting Officer Hayley Myers says there's still a lot of interest. She’s still seeing 15 to 20 people a month who are interested in starting a career in law enforcement.
NEW LAWS NOT VACCINE MANDATE ARE PUSHING SOME OFFICERS OUT
The new laws that are forcing some out of the department require police to have probable cause, as opposed to reasonable suspicion before using force. Local authorities say that one new law, among many others is already changing the way they've responded to calls in the past. Local police chiefs say "the legislature has sent a clear message when it comes to the use of force;they want law enforcement to NOT RESPOND to every call for service, to slow down, create distance use shielding, communicate and on occasion even leave a scene to avoid the use of force."
DESPITE CHALLENGES PLENTY STILL WANT TO BE POLICE OFFICERS
She says when officers retire the department works to find a qualified replacement as soon as possible.
So while some police departments in the state and country are being impacted by COVID-19 vaccine requirements it’s not happening at the Yakima Police Department.