DENVER (CBS4)– A new survey finds most Denver police officers are not vaccinated against COVID-19. The survey by the Denver Police Protective Association, the union representing officers, was conducted over the last weekend. It found 57% percent of Denver police officers are unvaccinated.
The union issued a press release stating, “Health and safety is a core value.”
But the union says it “respects and trusts our members to make their own choices on how to maintain their health… in a profession that exposes them on a daily basis to… multiple contagious and infectious diseases.”
The survey included about 780 officers. It found 446 or 57% have not received the COVID-19 vaccine. The survey didn’t ask why they weren’t vaccinated but it did ask if they would get vaccinated as a condition of employment. A total of 558 or 72% of those surveyed said they would not.
Denver Public Safety Manager Murphy Robinson says he was astonished by the number of unvaccinated officers, especially since they were in the first group approved for vaccines. He says they’ve had ample opportunity to get shots at multiple clinics at the police department.
Robinson says officers are already required to get many other vaccinations, “Frankly, we’re not telling people that they can’t make the decision not to get vaccinated. What we’re saying is, if you want to work in the City and County of Denver, you will get vaccinated. Public health law is law and so if my personnel decide not to do so, it is a conscious decision and I will take disciplinary action. This vaccine is not about us as individuals, this is about us as a whole, making a difference so that we can make sure our public is safe.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has given employees until the end of September to submit proof of vaccination or a medical or religious exemption.
Robinson says those who don’t do so will face the full range of discipline up to and including termination. He says he will be holding meetings with officers over the next month and a half to impress upon them the importance of getting the vaccine.
UPDATE: The PPA released this statement on Thursday night, “The PPA’s survey was discovered to be fairly inaccurate and it was impossible for the PPA to provide a valid number of those vaccinated.”