Seattle firefighters and Police Department officers who got fired for failing to comply with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement marched up the stairs of the city hall to turn in their boots.
A video taken from Seattle City Hall was posted to social media, showing people marching up the stairs, boots in hand. They are preparing to turn them in after they got fired for not following the local vaccine mandate.
Seattle PD and Seattle Fire walking up the stairs of Seattle City Hall to turn in their boots. These a excellent officers and firefighters with years of service that truly can’t be replaced. pic.twitter.com/OmfrMhCNpc
— Katie Daviscourt🇺🇸 (@KatieDaviscourt) October 19, 2021
This scene follows the expiration of Seattle’s deadline for first responders to get the vaccine, which was at midnight on Tuesday. It left many members of the department without jobs when they didn’t comply.
However, officials of the city remained optimistic even though it lost dozens of first responders. They said that public safety remains to be a top priority in the city. They also argued that despite the layoffs, both departments still had high vaccination rates.
According to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, “If someone calls 911, there will not be significant impacts on response.”
According to the city, 91% of the police force received their vaccine by Monday. Meanwhile, 93% of firefighters received theirs. Durkan then added that around two dozen workers had not submitted their paperwork that stated their intent to get vaccinated or that requested for an exemption.
“We’re in much better shape than we thought we would be because so many people have done exactly what we asked them to do,” the Seattle mayor went on to say.
However, Seattle has already dealt with an issue of declining numbers of its police force members. This has led some people to ask about the wisdom of firing officers because of the mandate.
“Sadly, this mandate will remove over 100 officers as it stands, and that’s unacceptable,” Seattle Police Officers Guild’s Mike Solan mentioned.
The said guild argued that emergency response times might become worse because of the officer shortage. He also said that the number of employees booted out is higher than the official tally of the city.
According to Chief Harold Scoggins of the Seattle Fire Department, it might hurt the department to have to let go of good employees, but he remains confident that those who remain will still manage to meet the needs of the city’s residents.