127 Washington State Patrol Employees Out of Job Over Vaccine Mandate

Over 100 Washington State Patrol employees are out of a job following the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline.

"Monday, October 18 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," Washington State Patrol said in a press release on Tuesday. "As of the end-of-business on Monday, 127 individuals have separated from employment due to the mandate."

According to the announcement, the 127 employees included 53 civil servants and 74 commissioned officers (67 troopers, six sergeants and one captain).

The announcement noted that Washington State Patrol had roughly 2,200 employees across eight districts, which indicates that approximately 5.7 percent of employees left over the state's vaccine mandate. "The departures are spread across the state impacting some areas differently than others," the press release said.

In the announcement on Tuesday, Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said that the agency will "miss" all of those that separated from employment over the vaccine mandate.

"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," Batiste said.

Batiste also said that he is "forever thankful" to "the more than 2,000 individuals who elected to stay with our agency."

"We have the responsibilities of the agency to carry forward and I am not going to ask you to do more with less. We shall do our very best to keep our remaining staff from becoming overburdened by these temporary losses," Batiste added.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee previously imposed one of the strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state, as the mandate does not offer any option to receive weekly or daily COVID-19 testing for those who forgo the vaccine.

In a statement on October 11, Inslee said that 90 percent of the state's employees under the vaccine mandate, which includes most state employees such as teachers and healthcare workers to be vaccinated.

"The state has been diligent in its contingency planning for scenarios after the October 18 vaccination deadline. The sky-high vaccination rates we're seeing should settle any concerns. There will not be massive disruptions in state services," Inslee said in the statement.

According to data obtained by the Seattle Times, as of Monday, 92 percent of the state's 62,000 employees under the mandate had been vaccinated. The Seattle Times also reported that 99 percent of the regular staff at Seattle Public Schools had been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Newsweek reached out to the Washington State Patrol for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Washington State Patrol
One hundred-twenty-seven Washington State Patrol employees were out of a job on Tuesday over the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Above, a member of the Washington State Patrol guards an entrance as Washington National Guard personnel walk by at the Washington State Capitol on January 17, in Olympia. David Ryder/Getty