State Patrol loses 127 employees due to vaccine mandate
Last updated 10/22/2021 at 9:34am
As of the end-of-business Monday, Oct. 18, 127 Washington State Patrol employees have left their jobs due to Gov. Jay Inslee's mandate.
Monday was the deadline for state employees to provide proof of vaccination or receive approved exemption and accommodations for religious or medical accommodations, or face separation from employment.
Fifty-three civil servants and 74 commissioned officers (67 troopers, six sergeants, and one captain) have, for varying reasons and in varying ways, separated from employment, according to WSP Chief John R Batiste.
"We will miss every one of them," Batiste said. "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."
WSP has about 2,200 personnel in eight districts and multiple geographic detachments and operational divisions. The departures are spread across the state, impacting some areas differently than others.
Agency and division leadership have been working with the Contingency Planning Team since the days immediately after the mandate's announcement, according to the WSP.
As the agency moves through the next several days, leaders will gauge the immediate actual impact for short-term mitigation. In that time, the agency will move resources where necessary and specific personnel losses demand adjustment.
In the mid- and long-term, WSP will continue its ongoing efficiency reviews and recruiting that will fill three new academy classes in the months to come.
On the civilian side, the agency will make similar adjustments and look to fill vacancies with the best candidates possible as soon as possible.
"As for the more than 2,000 individuals who elected to stay with our agency, I am forever thankful. We have the responsibilities of the agency to carry forward and I am not going to ask you to do more with less," Batiste said.
"We shall do our very best to keep our remaining staff from becoming overburdened by these temporary losses.
"We must now turn our attention to making sure we deploy our resources in a manner that continues to keep our roadways safe and meets the other core law enforcement responsibilities this agency has met with honor for over 100 years."
In a message to all WSP personnel Monday evening, Batiste said, "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."