“Many of these troopers are going to be returning to their previous municipal police departments within the state that allow for regular testing and masks,” State Police Association of Massachusetts President Michael Cherven said in a statement. “To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork.
“Throughout COVID, we have been on the front lines protecting the citizens of Massachusetts and beyond,” he said. “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 action comes as a Massachusetts Superior Court judge rejected the union’s request to delay the vaccine mandate, which goes into effect on Oct. 17. Exemptions are granted, under an order issued by the governor’s office, to those seeking religious or medical exemptions to the vaccine.
“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling; however, we respect her decision,” Cherven said. “It is unfortunate that [Gov. Charlie Baker] and his team have chosen to mandate one of the most stringent vaccine mandates in the country with no reasonable alternatives.”
The State Police Association of Massachusetts recently filed a lawsuit saying the Oct. 17 deadline would cause troopers “irreparable harm” and sought more time to “negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment.” They also had sought to have troopers who are not vaccinated instead submit to regular COVID-19 testing and wearing a mask on the job.
But the judge, Suffolk County Superior Court Associate Justice Jackie Cowin, said that delaying the vaccine mandate wouldn’t serve the public’s interest.
“The public interest is, unquestionably, best served by stopping the spread of the virus, in order to protect people from becoming ill, ensure adequate supply of medical services, and curtail the emergence of new, deadlier variants of the virus,” according to her ruling.
At the federal level, the Biden administration earlier this month issued an order mandating that all federal workers and contractors, including law enforcement personnel, get a COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier, the federal government stipulated that federal employees and contractors who didn’t get the shot would have to instead wear masks, socially distance, and undergo routine testing.
A few dozen federal employees, including U.S. Secret Service members, have filed lawsuits against the Biden administration over the mandate. Some argued that a prior COVID-19 infection should preclude them from receiving the vaccine, while others said that mandatory vaccines would violate their religious freedom.
Gov. Baker’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.