Dear Mr. President,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to seek your help ensuring that our nation’s law enforcement officers, who have served on the frontlines of this pandemic since the beginning, have expedited access to a COVID-19 vaccine regardless of where they serve.
While COVID-19 is a public health crisis, it is also a public safety concern, as the pandemic continues to impact public safety operations from simple things like answering emergency calls to infected or potentially infected persons, to enforcing quarantines and restrictions on travel as well as protecting vital supplies and facilities. More than 90% of the law enforcement officers responding to these situations are from local and State agencies and they will require expedited access to the vaccine to keep them, and the public with whom they interact, safe from infection. The public needs to have confidence that their local law enforcement agency will be able to respond regardless of the public health circumstances of the community.
Right now, individual States are deciding the order in which they will vaccinate their citizens. This is resulting in a patchwork of different plans, not all of which prioritize law enforcement officers. Some States, such as Colorado and Virginia, are vaccinating law enforcement officers early on in phase 1B. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends law enforcement officers should be vaccinated in phase 1B, some States such as Montana, Texas, and Ohio have law enforcement in phase 1C or have not made it clear when law enforcement officers will be able to be vaccinated. This delay in vaccinations in some States puts law enforcement officers and the public they interact with at risk as these unvaccinated officers could be contributing to the spread of the virus. With swift access to the vaccine, we are confident that the men and women in law enforcement can keep the peace while still playing a critical role in supporting our communities that are struggling with the latest outbreaks of the disease. To date, 394 law enforcement officers have died from COVID-19, expedited access to a vaccine may keep this number from getting higher. We hope that you and your Administration can work with the States to make sure law enforcement officers have the appropriate priority to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines.
On behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, thank you for your leadership and please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office if you should need our help or support in this effort.