More than a quarter of New York City’s 55,000-member police force could be sent home without payment if they fail to comply with the mayor’s order to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Friday’s deadline.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea is trying to get officers — some of the most hesitant employees in city government — to follow last week’s order from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
About 73 percent of NYPD employees have received at least one shot, meaning a whopping 27 percent of police officers could be placed on unpaid leave from Monday, when the mandate takes effect, if they are not vaccinated by 5 p.m. Friday.
Mayor de Blasio says he feels “ready” to deal with a dramatic drop in cop numbers as violent crime continues to plague the city, but it remains unclear how the department would keep enough cops on the streets.
More than a quarter of NYPD employees will be able to take unpaid leave from Monday
All city employees have until 5 p.m. Friday to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Above, a student has a chance to win a vaccination event at a Staten Island high school in August
About 73 percent of NYPD employees are vaccinated, police say. The department has had some of the lowest vaccination rates of any city body since vaccines became available
“Remember, our emergency rooms, our uniformed agencies went through so much last year that they had massive numbers of members because of COVID and they had to make constant adjustments to deliver the services we need to keep people safe — and they did and they did a really good job,” de Blasio said during his daily briefing Wednesday morning.
Shea told NY1 on Tuesday that the department is preparing for the deadline “as if it starts Friday night.”
“We have vaccines available for our members throughout the city.”
Mayor de Blasio, who instituted the order last Wednesday, says he expects officers to hold out until the last minute.
“What I expect is a wave of activity, especially on Friday,” de Blasio said.
‘We had this pattern with the care providers. We had this pattern with everyone who works for the Department of Education, which is by far our largest agency – a wave of vaccinations right on the deadline.
“And then some people who didn’t get vaccinated before the deadline, but recognize they’re about to go on unpaid leave, who would go out and get vaccinated immediately, and then others who are in the days after.’
New York City had an average of about 1,137 cases of COVID-19 on October 17, the last full data day. More than 85 percent of adults in the city have at least one dose of a vaccine.
He also said the city is willing to deal with personnel changes as a result of officers refusing to fire.
“These are agencies that have been preparing for months,” he said.
DeBlasio, who received a Moderna booster shot on Monday, announced a vaccine mandate with no weekly test-out option for all city workers last week.
NYC averaged about 1,137 cases of COVID-19 on October 17, the last full data day
“Each of the commissioners is absolutely confident that they can make the adjustments and every one of the commissioners has adamantly wanted us to move forward with a vaccine mandate. So I feel ready.’
Crime in New York City continues to rise as the city recovers from COVID-19 lockdowns.
On Monday morning, two teens exchange gunfire outside Midwood High School in south Brooklyn — the second gang-related shooting near a school this month.
One of the teens, who was later arrested, was identified as a member of the G-Stone Crips armed gang.
The city has also seen an increase in subway-related crimes.
During Monday night’s rush hour, a man on train N was shot in the leg during a failed robbery attempt. The 42-year-old victim was taken to hospital in stable condition and police are still looking for the suspect.
Two teens exchanged gunfire outside a Brooklyn public high school on Monday — the second time this month that a gang-related shooting occurred near a New York City school
The mandate could lead to a shortage of NYPD employees as violent crime continues to rise
The city has also seen an increase in subway-related crimes, including a Monday shooting
Since Sunday, the crime rate in the city has risen by eight percent compared to the same time last year. Rape and grand theft are each up about three percent.
Thousands of New Yorkers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday in protest at the vaccine mandate for city workers that comes into effect Nov. 1.
Lanes on Manhattan’s Brooklyn Bridge were closed between 12:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday due to the protest, according to an NYPD report.
About 160,000 city workers had not yet been vaccinated on Monday.
Also on Monday, the NYPD officers’ union, the Police Benevolent Association, sued the city over the vaccine mandate.
The union argued that the previous rules, which allowed for a weekly testing option, were sufficient.
The NYPD has one of the lowest vaccination rates of any city agency and has struggled to keep up since the vaccine became widely available in the spring.
The city’s Department of Corrections and Housing Authority have the lowest vaccination rates at 51 and 59 percent, respectively, according to data released Oct. 19 by the mayor’s office.
A man shot in the leg while on the N train sits in an ambulance near Union Square Monday afternoon
NYPD is hunting the suspect above, who shot the man during a rush hour robbery
The Landmark Preservation Commission is the only city agency in which 100 percent of employees have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. They are followed by the mayor’s office at 96 percent.
“I don’t know how we got here,” Shea said.
‘We even have nurses who refuse to be vaccinated. I think people made such a political issue out of this during the 2020 elections and now it’s coming home to sleep.
“Wouldn’t it have been a nicer situation if President Trump and President-elect Biden had stood side by side and said everyone should get vaccinated now? But we had it as a political issue and now it just rages on in the time we are in.”
Mayor de Blasio noted on Wednesday that any officers who decide not to vaccinate and are placed on unpaid leave could potentially bring “savings” to the department.
“We’re not looking at this from a budget perspective, we’re looking at this in terms of how we keep people safe,” he said.
“Now, of course – look, I’d like everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to get vaccinated by the end of Friday. If they don’t, they get off the payroll. I don’t want that saving, but it will result in a saving.’