En Seattle, algunos detectives de la policía subieron a los coches patrulla durante el último mes por primera vez en más de una década, según el sargento Randy Huserik, quien ha estado con el departamento por 28 años.
The department has been short staffed since 18 octubre, when the city began enforcing a mandate requiring officers to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
But while the Seattle police union warned that the mandate would lead to “an alarming escalation in crime” and “an untenable public safety crisis”, Huserik said the department’s staffing strategy had allowed it to continue to properly respond to 911 llamadas.
“We haven’t seen a significant need for detectives to be donning their uniforms and heading out and handling 911 llamadas,” Huserik said. “It’s only been a few [gente] here and there.”
Cities around the US have implemented similar mandates – and faced the same sort of backlash from police unions who have predicted chaos – but the warnings that the mandates would deplete police departments and make cities more dangerous have not yet proven true, according to policing and public health experts.
Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which advises police departments across the country, described the warnings from police unions as “bravado”.
“This isn’t asking cops to work extra hours without getting compensated,” said Wexler. “This is about a public health emergency, and this isn’t about taking away rights. This is about protecting cops from dying” from Covid, which has killed almost 500 officers in the United States over the last two years, about five times the number who died from gunfire, según to the non-profit Officer Down Memorial Page.
El lunes, New York began enforcing its vaccinate mandate for city employees, which meant about 9,000 gente who refused to get the vaccine were placed on unpaid leave, representando sobre 6% of the city workforce, según to NPR.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that 91% of city employees had been vaccinated, los New York Times informó. That included the New York police department, the largest in the country, en el cual 85% of officers have been vaccinated, desde 70% just a couple of weeks ago. Other cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, tengo seen the same increase in vaccinations before mandate deadlines, as workers decide they would rather get the shot than lose their jobs or be placed on unpaid leave.
En Seattle, 92% of the police department is fully vaccinated, according to the city. Twenty-two employees are partially vaccinated, y 100 others have requested an exemption.
To combat the staffing shortfall, Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, announced last week that the city would begin offering a $25,000 hiring bonus to experienced officers or 911 dispatchers.
“We are encouraged by the mayor’s support because we have been pursuing hiring incentives,” Huserik said.
But Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, condemned Durkan’s announcement, telling Fox News that she had already betrayed police officers by implementing the vaccine mandate and not supporting them during protests after George Floyd was killed in 2020.
In spite of the fierce battles over vaccine mandates, public health experts say they are effective.
“As the deadline for the mandate gets closer, even people who said initially they are not going to get the vaccine, they begin to move and do get vaccinated,” said Sandra C Quinn, a professor of family science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health who has studied the role of communication in vaccine acceptance.
Adam Galinsky, a social psychologist and expert in leadership and ethics at Columbia University, said the last-minute decisions to get vaccinated could be attributed to people’s tendency to avoid actions they might later regret. With a mandate, the decision is somewhat taken out of their hands.
“Mandates work – especially mandates around public health,” Galinsky said. “Even when people whine … and say they are going to quit, most people don’t.”
In spite of the uptick due to the mandates, some public health experts worry about the long-term consequences of the requirements on healthcare and society, including potentially greater opposition to other vaccines, said Katrin Schmelz, a behavioral economist and psychologist at the University of Konstanz.
“Vaccination mandates will increase vaccination rates and on the other side of the scale, it could increase hostility towards the government and aggression and affect compliance with other Covid measures,” said Schmelz, who lives in Germany, which does not mandate Vacunas para COVID-19. “It’s not just: we enforce [the mandate] and are on the safe side, and all the problems are solved.”