WSP loses 127 employees, OSP loses 4 due to vax mandate


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Monday’s COVID-19 vaccination deadline for all Washington state workers has passed — and the Washington State Patrol has released the official number of employees it has “separated” from as a result.

The vaccination mandate required all state workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus unless they had a religious or medical exemption. Ahead of Monday’s deadline, Gov. Jay Inslee said that he didn’t believe that government services would see any big impact from people leaving — but that some state agencies may have to undergo some operational changes.

On Tuesday morning, WSP announced 127 workers “separated from employment” with the agency because of the mandate. Of that total, 53 were civil servants and 74 were commissioned officers — including 67 troopers, six sergeants and one captain who left their jobs for “varying reasons and in varying ways,” according to WSP.

WSP has about 2,200 employees throughout eight districts. They say some areas will be affected by this exodus more than others, but leaders have been working on contingency plans since shortly after the mandate was announced.

“We will miss every one of them.” WSP Chief John R Batiste said of those that left. “I extend a hardy thanks to those who are leaving the agency. I truly wish that you were staying with us. You have my utmost appreciation for the hard and successful work that you have provided during your valued WSP careers. You will forever have our respect for your courage and your commitment in all you have done on behalf of the agency.”

To the remaining employees, Batiste said he is forever thankful.

“COVID is a killer and the state is taking action intended to improve public safety. I thank you for staying on post and staying in service to this state and agency,” he said. “Better days are ahead. Believe that and know I believe in you.”

Oregon State Police numbers

The Oregon State Police said Tuesday that 1,267 employees — or 78% of the OSP workforce — were fully vaccinated while 15% of workers had been granted approved exemptions. A vast majority of those exemptions (96%) were for religious reasons while the remainder were medical, OSP said. Another 7% of workers’ exemption applications were still under review.

Of the 778 employees with the Oregon State Police Officer’s Association, 11 are on administrative leave. OSP said the OSPOA and the State of Oregon have not yet reached an agreement regarding the vaccine mandate. Another 10 OSP employees are taking advantage of the grace period for those in the vaccination process.

Four OSP employees cited the vaccine mandate at the time of their resignation, OSP said.

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