OLYMPIA, WA — The collateral damage of Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate last October includes the loss of seasoned Washington State Patrol employees throughout the state who were fired for not complying with the governor’s order.
KING 5 reported last fall that out of 2,200 Washington State Patrol employees, at least 74 commissioned troopers and 53 civilian employees of the agency were going to lose their jobs after failing to meet the state’s vaccine requirements.
This is a powerful statement. God bless these LEO’s! 💔— Gretchen Smith (@cov_Gretchen) October 20, 2021
The number of employees losing their jobs represents about six percent of the force, according to KING 5.
One officer who chose to be fired rather than comply with the governor’s mandate is Trooper Robert Lamay.
A veteran Washington State Trooper of 22 years gives his final signs off after being forced out over tyrannical vaccine mandate: "This is the last time you’ll hear me in a patrol car and Jay Inslee can kiss my ass." #FJoeBidenpic.twitter.com/ywh9jEBxKw— Catt on Christmas 🎄 (@CattHarmony) October 17, 2021
As he signed off duty for the final time on Oct. 15, Lamay said:
“This is my final sign off after 22 years of serving the citizens of the State of Washington, I’m being asked to leave because I am ‘dirty.’
“Numerous fatalities, injuries, I’ve worked sick, I’ve played sick — we’ve buried lots of friends over these years. I’d like to thank you guys.
“I’d like to thank the citizens of Yakima County as well as my fellow officers within the valley.
“Without you guys I wouldn’t have been very successful, and you’ve kept me safe and got me home to my family every night. Thank you for that.
“I wish I could say more, but this is it so State 1034, this is the last time you’ll hear me in a state patrol car, and Jay Inslee can kiss my ass.”
Another video captured a sergeant with the Washington State Patrol signing off on his final shift just before the vaccine mandate’s deadline.
The officer is identified as Sgt. Richard Thompson.
Another Washington State Patrol officer resigns due to dictator Inslee’s mandate.— PENNSYLVANIA IS TRUMP 🇺🇸 (@RED_IN_PA_3) October 18, 2021
Sgt. Richard Thompson is a nearly 17-year veteran of the WSP out of Cowlitz County. pic.twitter.com/g2u7IxdIEP
The video was posted on TikTok by cel_marie86. The sergeant’s wife is a dispatcher and reportedly also losing her job too due to the vaccine mandate.
She participated in her husband’s signoff.
The sergeant says in part:
“Due to my personal choice to take a moral stand for medical freedom and personal choice, I will be signing out of service for the last time today after nearly 17 years of serving the citizens of the State of Washington. It’s been my honor.”
He ended his signoff by acknowledging the reduced levels of staffing and the risks involved with that:
“Please, please, please, take care of each other. So please take care of each other. Be safe and make sure you all go home.
Again, thank you to each and every one of you for being alongside me. Help each other out.
“But as for me, I am out of service and on to new adventures.”
His wife responded as a dispatcher and noted he was a hard-working, outstanding, determined and caring individual and thanked him for his service:
“On behalf of our co-workers, you’ve been a pleasure to work with for the last 17 years.
“You accomplished great things here, and don’t forget your friendships along the way.”
The sergeant wiped away a tear and thanked his wife for her service too.
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On Aug. 20, 2021, Gov. Inslee issued a 13-page proclamation regarding a Covid-19 vaccination requirement that had to be completed by Oct. 18:
“WHEREAS, to further our individual and collective duty to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, I issued Proclamation 21-14 requiring all employees, on-site independent contractors, volunteers, goods and services providers, and appointees of designated state agencies to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on or before October 18, 2021.”
"127 Washington state police employees terminated for refusing to comply with vaccine mandate" #biznews #businessnews #businesstalk More than 100 Washington State Patrol employees were terminated after refusing to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate. pic.twitter.com/maFkgzEUz9— Business News Daily (@biznews_daily) October 19, 2021
The governor’s order also contained prohibitions against employing workers who are not fully vaccinated:
“This order prohibits the following:
“a. Any Worker from engaging in work for a State Agency after October 18, 2021 if the Worker has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19;
“b. Any State Agency from permitting any Worker to engage in work for the agency after October 18, 2021 if the Worker has not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provided proof thereof as required below.”
Gov. Inslee also noted in his order:
“Violators of this order may be subject to criminal penalties pursuant to RCW 43.06.220(5).
“Further, if people fail to comply with the required facial coverings, social distancing and other protective measures while engaging in this phased reopening, I may be forced to reinstate the prohibitions established in earlier proclamations.”
The legal grounds for the proclamation were explained on the state’s website:
“In response to the emerging COVID-19 threat, the Governor declared a state of emergency on February 29, 2020, using his broad emergency authority under RCW 43.06.
“More specifically, under RCW 43.06.220, after a state of emergency has been declared, the Governor may suspend statutes and prohibit any activity that he believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.
“Under an emergency such as this, the Governor’s paramount duty is to focus on the health and safety of our communities.
“In addition, the Governor is also a large employer and needs to meet the obligation to provide a safe workplace for government employees. This Proclamation answers both of those obligations.”
In addition, the governor removed the ability of unvaccinated employees to opt for a regular testing approach that would verify whether they had the Covid-19 virus or not.
The state’s website explained the governor’s reasoning:
“The state engaged with labor organizations, local governments, and private healthcare, and received communications from various associations representing segments of private healthcare settings.
“These engagements revealed differing viewpoints and perspectives. Many organizations expressed an interest in implementation of a ‘vaccination or test’ approach.
“Many other settings have taken this approach. We considered this feedback in great depth and deemed that approach infeasible in state government and across our health systems.
“The state and some private entities have used a ‘vaccination or test’ system in various congregate care settings and many recognized it to have not stopped the threat to our communities and places of work, as outbreaks have persisted.
“The cost and administrative process to sustain, or expand, this model long-term is significant. Ultimately, the state made the tough decision to proceed with a mandate for the healthcare workforce and the state employee workforce.”
While Washington State Patrol employees are required to get fully vaccinated because they are state workers, the state warned in its “frequently asked” section of the website that the mandate could “include local law enforcement and jail staff in the future.”
The Washington State Patrol issued a press release on Oct. 19 confirming that 67 troopers, 6 sergeants, 1 captain and 53 civil servants “have, for varying reasons and in varying ways, separated from employment.”
Washington State Patrol losing 127 people due to the vaccine mandate. We expect numbers from all the state agencies today. pic.twitter.com/ZmFbac628O— Melissa Luck ☘ (@MelissaKXLY4) October 19, 2021
The press release noted that Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste indicated he would miss all of the departing employees and was thankful for their service:
“We will miss every one of them. I extend a hardy thanks to those who are leaving the agency. I truly wish that you were staying with us.
“You have my utmost appreciation for the hard and successful work that you have provided during your valued WSP careers. You will forever have our respect for your courage and your commitment in all you have done on behalf of the agency.”
The press release ended with Batiste reassuring staff members who are remaining on the job:
“Covid is a killer and the state is taking action intended to improve public safety. I thank you for staying on post and staying in service to this state and agency.
“Better days are ahead. Believe that and know I believe in you.”
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