A Massachusetts police union is standing by its claim that "dozens" of state troopers have chosen to resign their positions rather than get vaccinated against COVID-19, even though the department has since clarified that isn't yet the case.
In August, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all state executive branch workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 Oct. 17 or face termination. That order included all employees of the Massachusetts State Police.
According to NPR, a state judge earlier this month denied a request by the State Police Association union to block the mandate for troopers. The union had requested that the governor instead offer alternatives like mandatory mask use or regular testing for unvaccinated troopers.
WBZ-TV in Boston reports that 20% of state troopers are still not vaccinated.
In a recent statement, State Police Association president Michael Cherven claimed that troopers would be resigning en masse in the coming weeks due to Barker's mandate.
"To date, dozens of troopers have already submitted their resignation paperwork, some of whom plan to return to other departments offering reasonable alternatives such as mask wearing and regular testing," Cherven wrote. "The State Police are already critically short staffed and acknowledged this by the unprecedented moves which took troopers from specialty units that investigate homicides, terrorism, computer crimes, arsons, gangs, narcotics, and human trafficking, and returned them to uniformed patrol."
Despite the union's claims, both WBZ and WCVB-TV in Boston report that state police have yet to receive mass resignations from troopers. Citing a source within the Massachusetts State Police, both outlets say the department is only aware of one person who has submitted resignation paperwork because of the mandate.
"As of this morning, the Department has been notified by our human resources office of one Trooper who has definitively stated he will retire because of the vaccine mandate," Massachusetts State Police spokesman Dave Procopio said in a statement to CBS News on Tuesday. "It is our understanding that other Troopers are considering resigning or retiring for that reason, but as of right now, we are aware of only the one who has definitively said he will go."
WCVB said Monday that the State Police Association is "standing by" its claim that dozens have submitted resignation paperwork.