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Former officer says refusing the COVID-19 vaccine is an issue of police culture

Published: Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 12:44pm
Updated: Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 7:55am
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Arizona State University
William "Bill" Terrill

As cities around the country consider vaccine mandates for employees — including Tucson, here in Arizona — one area that’s proving difficult when it comes to compliance is police departments.

The Tucson City Council voted last week to terminate employees who refuse to get vaccinated, and around 300 city employees were on the chopping block as a result. And the Arizona Mirror reports that more than two-thirds of city employees who have not been vaccinated are in the police and fire departments.

The Phoenix Police Department follows the same trend.

A city spokesperson told KJZZ about 38% of officers have submitted proof of vaccination to qualify for a $75 incentive program the city’s calling a “Vaccine Safety Award.” But Phoenix is not requiring vaccination.

On the other end of the spectrum, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made headlines over the weekend for saying he hopes to sign legislation that would give $5,000 hiring bonuses to law enforcement officers from other states who refuse to get vaccinated and are fired as a result.

Bill Terrill was a police officer in the 1980s and now studies police culture as a professor at School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. The Show spoke with him to learn about the vaccination situation in police departments.

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