‘Dozens’ of Massachusetts state troopers line up to quit over vaccine mandate after judge denies delay

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BOSTON, MA – “Dozens” of state troopers fed up with the governor’s vaccine mandate are filing paperwork to quit the force as a Superior Court judge has denied any delay in the mandate that kicks in Oct. 17.

A Superior Court judge late Thursday denied a request by the union representing 1,800 members of the state police to block the implementation of Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaccine mandate until details can be collectively bargained, a move the union says has prompted dozens of resignations.

Judge Jackie Cowin ruled that the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) had failed to show that the implementation of the mandate would either cause irreparable harm to its members or that a delay would serve the public interest.

“Suspending the deadline for union members to obtain full vaccination would be against the public interest which the defendants are charged with protecting, and cause more harm to the Commonwealth than is caused to the union by denial of such relief.”

The union filed its lawsuit seeking an injunction last Friday and held a hearing in front of Cowin on Wednesday.

SPAM President Michael Cherven said in a statement Friday night:

“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.

The police union said it was “unfortunate” that alternatives were not offered:

“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling; however, we respect her decision.

“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.”

Gov. Charlie Baker ordered the vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees, including state police, on August 19. The mandate set an Oct. 17 deadline to be fully vaccinated.

Cherven said troopers have been on the front lines during the pandemic and should have been given consideration:

“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.”

The judge’s ruling leaves troopers with just days to decide whether to take the vaccine. Any officer who does not meet the deadline will be terminated.

Approximately 20% of Massachusetts State Police officers remain unvaccinated.

State police said that although some troopers may have begun the process for resignation or retirement, none had stepped down as of Friday because of the mandate:

“We will decline comment. No retirements occurred today because of the vaccine issue. There was only one retirement today, a Major (had nothing to do with the vaccine).

They may have submitted paperwork or indicated to the union that they plan to do so, but no retirement orders were cut today.”

SPAM said the mandate will lead to increased strain on an already understaffed law enforcement mission:

“The State Police are already critically short staffed and acknowledge this by the unprecedented moves to take officers from specialty units that investigate homicides, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons and human trafficking, to name just a few.”

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LA County Sheriff says city’s new mask mandate ‘not backed by science,’ refuses to enforce it

July 17, 2021

 

LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CA – As Los Angeles County gets ready to reinstate mask requirements for all persons, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is having none of it.

On Thursday, July 15, local health officials announced that, effective Saturday July 17th at 11:50 pm, indoor masking would be required for every person, regardless of immunization status.

Sheriff Villanueva, however, has criticized the new requirements, stating:

“Forcing the vaccinated and those who already contracted COVID-19 to wear masks indoors is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”

Indeed, the CDC states on their website:

If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.”

The CDC continues:

“Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

In other words, the CDC’s own “science” permits activities with no mask restrictions (or distancing) in the vaccinated population.

Villanueva also indicated that the defunded status of L.A. County law enforcement was also a reason that mask guidelines would not be enforced.

He stated:

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance.”

The Sheriff concluded his statement by again referring to the lack of applied science in the mandate, saying:

“We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.”

According to County of Los Angeles Public Health,  masking will be required indoors, regardless of vaccination status, due to a “more than a seven-times increase in new cases since the June 15 reopening.”

LA County also compared figures of 210 cases of COVID-19 on June 15 with 1,537 new cases on July 15.  It also cited the test positivity rate as 0.5% on June 15, versus a positivity rate of 3.7% on July 15.

The county also added that the new mask requirement is due to “the increasing presence of the more easily transmitted Delta variant of the virus.”

The county statement continued in its explanation on the mask order:

“And while emerging data affirms that fully vaccinated people are well protected from severe infections with Delta variants, people with only one vaccine are not as well-protected, and there is evidence that a very small number of fully vaccinated individuals can become infected and may be able to infect others.”

Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis declared in a virtual press conference:

“Wearing a mask when indoors with others reduces both of getting and transmitting the virus .”

He continued:

“Masking indoors must again become a normal practice by all, regardless of vaccination status, so that we can stop the trends and level of transmission we are currently seeing.”

According to KTLA5, local health officials have stated that this new indoor mask mandate will continue “until the numbers of hospitalizations and cases improve.”

County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has indicated disagreement with making masks mandatory

She told WABC-TV:

“I don’t think it should be mandatory.” 

Barger went on to say:

“I think it should be recommended. 

“Every other county in the state to my knowledge, we are the only county that’s doing it mandatory.”

Responses to the mask mandate from local citizens has been varied.

ABC 7 Eyewitness News interviewed one local resident, Francisco Felix, who appeared to be fully in favor of the mandate.

He said:

“My reaction is simple:  Just wear it, be safe about it.  

“I mean, protect others as you go along…. 

“I mean, I’d rather just wear it than just not to.”

Local resident Kyla Speakman, on the other hand, told the station she was “a little upset” about the mandate.

She said:

“I’m a little upset, but, I mean, I get it.  I get why people wear masks in hospitals and everything like that.

“But I mean just to be, I mean, going to the gym, it’s not like we’re all on top of each other.”

ABC7 also found those who apparently saw the masking as a “punish[ment]” and were “resentful” of the unvaccinated.

Justin Sevakis of Glendale told the news channel:

”It feels like the the burden of the unvaccinated is being placed on the vaccinated.”

He continued:

“It’s like there are people that don’t have common sense and so therefore all of us have to pay for it – and it sucks. 

“It feels like, you know, the teacher is punishing the whole class.”
 

 

 

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