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‘Hundreds’ of Massachusetts State Police face being fired over vaccine mandate

Group hires Boston law firm to 'resist' edict

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

A group of State Police troopers and commanders have hired a Boston law firm as “hundreds” in the agency face being fired for not taking the coronavirus vaccine.

A source told the Herald more than 300 troopers, sergeants, lieutenants, detective lieutenants, captains and staff are in that group and some have already caught COVID, giving them the antibodies. But that won’t help them come Oct. 17 when the vaccine mandate goes on the books.

“This has been my whole life. I’ve been a loyal cop,” the source said. “But unlike Boston Police and others, we don’t have a testing option.”

Gov. Charlie Baker instituted a vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19, including all troopers, with a deadline of Oct. 17 to be fully vaccinated. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

State Police and Corrections Officers sued and lost in court and now the deadline is just over a week away. That means they can only take the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab, the lesser of the vaccine options.

“It’s horrendous,” said attorney William Gens, who confirmed his firm has been hired to advise the group of troopers “resisting” the mandate.

Gens, from the Boston firm Gens, Stanton and Florek, said he’s sure the “officers fear for their jobs,” but he is working with them.

He said the State Police in this group “discuss issues to keep informed and to develop a response to this mandate.” He added, “We number in the hundreds.”

His firm has been hired, he added, to give the group advice and discuss “legal rights and remedies.” He did not tip his hat, yet, on what some of the remedies could be.

All signs point to some type of showdown next week or right up to the vax mandate deadline.

Until then, Baker’s press secretary Terry MacCormack said it’s all systems go.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is encouraged by the response to date by Executive Department employees completing the vaccination verification process ahead of the October 17 deadline and will continue to work with employees to address questions and requests for exemptions,” he said in a statement sent to the Herald Thursday night.

MacCormack added: “The Administration is still in the process of gathering information from employees but agencies are seeing significant progress toward the vaccination goal.”