SEATTLE — President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild Mike Solan said officers who choose not to get vaccinated will not be terminated immediately on the Oct. 18 deadline. Instead, they will be given a notice for a "Loudermill hearing" where an employee can present their reasonings before separation is taken.
King County Sheriff's employees will be subject to the same process, according to an internal memo from the sheriff's office on Thursday.
Seattle announced its own vaccine mandate in August to be in alignment with Gov. Jay Inslee's and King County's policies that require all city employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, request an exemption, or face termination by Oct. 18.
The vaccine debate is happening across the country.
In Los Angeles County, the sheriff decided to go against the county mandate and not require his 18,000 employees to get vaccinated. That sheriff said his department can't afford to lose 5% to 10% of its staff.
The issue of vaccines for city employees also came up during Thursday night's Seattle mayoral debate. Candidates Lorena González and Bruce Harrell sounded off when asked what they would tell someone who wants to work in law enforcement, but doesn't want to get the shot.
"I strongly believe that it is important for all of our public employees to receive the vaccine," said González.
"I expect you to take your oath to office, to the point where you realize you have to lead with the vaccination, so this is not the place for you in Seattle," Harrell said.
The Seattle mayor's office said that that city firefighters are required to be vaccinated for hepatitis, so they said the requirement for a COVID-19 vaccine is no different.