DENVER (AP) — The top public safety leader in Denver said he is prepared to discipline police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters who don’t follow the mandate that all city employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, The Denver Post reported Saturday.
A public health order that was issued by the city health department on Monday requires all city employees to receive their second vaccine dose by Sept. 15 and provide proof of vaccination.
“That order says city employees shall be vaccinated. If our folks don’t comply with it in the time that is allotted by the mayor’s office and the Department of Public Health and Environment, then I am prepared to do what is necessary to hold people in compliance and hold people accountable,” Murphy Robinson, executive director of the city’s Department of Public Safety, told The Denver Post. “That’s my job.”
The Denver police officers’ union said in a statement on Thursday 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”.
It’s unclear how many of the Denver’s police officers or emergency responders have been vaccinated as the city does not keep track.
However, the Denver Police Protective Association — which represents a majority of the department’s 1,494 officers — conducted its own poll. The survey, which was shared with the Post, showed a total of 778 union members responded and 332, or 43%, said they had received the vaccine.
The union issued a statement Thursday night disputing the validity of its own poll.
“The PPA did conduct an internal, informal and unscientific survey of its membership and unfortunately, the survey responses were statistically and mathematically so far away of realistic numbers, it was for this reason, the survey was not released,” the union said in a statement.
However, Robinson said he was “shocked” by the poll’s findings.
“We have held clinics, we have made incentives,” he said, “And, frankly, there’s no excuse for someone — other than their religious beliefs or for medical reasons — to not get vaccinated.”