Police officers and other Denver city workers who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine will face discipline and could be fired, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety.
Murphy Robinson, executive director, says he’s ready to enforce an order from Robert McDonald, public health administrator for the city and county of Denver.
McDonald last week ordered approximately 10,000 personnel across the area, including first responders, hospital workers, and childcare providers, to be fully vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19 by Sept. 30. Religious and medical exemptions are recognized.
“Executive Director Robinson has been tasked to ensure all public safety staff are in compliance and if not, discipline, up to and including termination, could be imposed,” Kelli Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Public Safety, told The Epoch Times in an email.
That includes sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and police officers.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, hinted at the possibility last week when announcing the order.
“Obviously, there are consequences for not following the order,” he told a press conference.
The Denver Police Protective Association, which represents officers, said in a recent statement that it “respects and trusts our members with their own choices on how to maintain their health, the health of their families, and the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Denver in a profession that exposes them on a daily basis to violent criminals, as well as multiple contagious and infectious diseases prevalent in our community.”
An early survey showed that of approximately 778 officers, or half of the police force, 72 percent said they would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if forced to as a condition of staying employed.
The police union said the informal internal survey was done soon after COVID-19 vaccines became available and that within three weeks of first responders receiving a vaccine, nearly 70 percent were vaccinated.
The Denver Police Protective Association (PPA), a firefighters union, and the Denver Sheriff’s Department did not respond to requests for comment.
The survey caused concern, Robinson told the Denver Post.
“It wasn’t until the PPA put their numbers out there that I grew concerned. I thought we had a lot more people vaccinated,” he said. “If we truly do have 57 percent of our officers not vaccinated, then an order is necessary.”
The Denver Department of Public Safety said it did not know how many first responders have been vaccinated so far. A spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Health told the Post that 3,333 were vaccinated as of Friday.
Officials say the mandate will help make sure the economy stays open amid the rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations seen across the United States in recent weeks.
“No one wants to see another stay-at-home order to stop a crisis that threatens to overwhelm our hospitals,” Hancock told the press conference last week.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
McDonald, Denver’s health director, acknowledged that deaths from COVID-19 have plateaued.
“I’ve gotten this question a fair amount, mortality is not going up. Why would we do this now, mortality is not going up? I guess my question would be, would the preference be that I wait until mortality goes up? We need to make sure we’re ahead of this so that we don’t see another spike in deaths going into the fall,” he said.