127 employees leave Washington State Patrol due to vaccine mandate

After Monday’s deadline for state employees to provide proof of vaccination or face being fired, the Washington State Patrol announced on Tuesday the number of employees it has lost due to the vaccine mandate.

WSP spokesman Chris Loftis said in a news release that as of the close of business on Monday, 127 employees left employment “for varying reasons and in varying ways.”

The employees who left due to the mandate include 53 civil servants, 67 troopers, six sergeants, and one captain.

“As for the more than 2,000 individuals who elected to stay with our agency, I am forever thankful. We have the responsibilities of the agency to carry forward and I am not going to ask you to do more with less. We shall do our very best to keep our remaining staff from becoming overburdened by these temporary losses,” Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said.

WSP has about 2,200 employees in eight districts with multiple operational divisions and detachments in various areas across the state.

The employees’ who left were spread across the state and WSP leaders have been working with its contingency planning team since the mandate was announced, the news release said.

Over the next several days, leaders will gauge the immediate impact of employees leaving and move staff where needed as a short-term solution.

Meanwhile, WSP will continue to aggressively recruit officers to fill three new academy classes in the coming months.

For civilian jobs, WSP will make adjustments as needed and work to fill vacancies as soon as possible.

“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. Better days are ahead. Believe that and know I believe in you,” Batiste said in a message to all WSP employees Monday night.