The State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) issued a statement indicating that “dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork,” in the wake of a court ruling on Thursday denying the police union’s request to delay the upcoming deadline for the state’s vaccine mandate.
SPAM’s comments: In a statement following the Massachusetts Superior Court’s denial of their request for a delay of the state’s vaccine mandate, SPAM released a statement lamenting the decision and indicating the resignation of “dozens of troopers” as a result of the ruling.
“We are disappointed in the judge’s ruling; however, we respect her decision,” wrote SPAM president Michael Cherven. “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.”
The union leader stated that their primary objective is to advocate for “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.”
Cherven acknowledged that the State Police are “critically” short-staffed, as demonstrated by what he characterized as “unprecedented moves,” referring to instances where specialty unit troopers were taken from their more specialized investigations and put back on uniformed patrol.
The teeth of Cherven’s remarks came at the end, when he stated, “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 big picture: SPAM, a police union representing 1,800 Massachusetts state troopers, previously filed a lawsuit requesting that the court delay the upcoming October 17 deadline for the vaccine mandate to go into effect.
In the filing, SPAM’s lawyers argued that they would otherwise face “irreparable harm,” and the delay would be critical in allowing them to “negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment.”
However, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Jackie Cowin did not agree.
In denying SPAM’s request, she reasoned, “Specifically, 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.”
Worth noting: When questioned about the resignations, a spokesperson for the State Police denied that any unplanned retirements had occurred after the court issued its ruling against SPAM.
“No retirements occurred today because of the vaccine issue,” the spokesperson told NBC10 Boston. “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.”
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