The number of Seattle police officers who have yet to turn in required proof showing they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus has fallen below 300, according to the department’s latest counts as of Wednesday.
In all, 292 Seattle sworn officers — or 27% of all cops available to respond to calls in the city — still need to verify they’ve been fully vaccinated, or seek an exemption, before the Oct. 18 deadline for city employees to do so.
At least 111 officers who the Seattle Police Department has tallied among the 73% of officers categorized as having “submitted” vaccination records have applied for exemptions from the city’s vaccination mandate based on religious or medical reasons, department spokesperson Sgt. Randy Huserik said Wednesday.
The department’s latest counts indicate an additional 62 officers have submitted records since Tuesday, when SPD for the first time publicly acknowledged specific numbers for how many of its officers had yet to provide vaccination records under the city mandate.
In August, Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a directive requiring city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18. Because vaccinations take two weeks to attain their peak efficacy, city employees needed to receive their second shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, by Oct. 4, according to Durkan’s office.
The latest figures, updated in accountings provided in bar graphs on the department’s website Wednesday, show 782 sworn officers, or 73%, had “submitted” vaccination records. But that number includes the 111 officers seeking exemptions.
Before Wednesday, SPD hadn’t indicated exemption seekers were among the officers counted in its “submitted” category.
Nearly all of SPD’s civilian police employees (98%) also had submitted records, the figures show. Huserik said he didn’t readily know the number of civilians who are seeking exemptions to the mandate.
Seattle police commanders, during a meeting to discuss staffing contingencies on Tuesday, were presented with numbers showing that 354 officers — or a full one-third of all officers in service — had yet to submit vaccination records.
In the event of staffing shortages due to officers who don’t meet the vaccination deadline, the department plans to deploy detectives and other officers in specialty assignments to help cover 911 calls, according to sources familiar with Tuesday’s meeting.