Boston Herald

Few State Police quit as 168 recruits join force

- By Joe Dwinell Howie Carr contribute­d to this report.

Three State Police officers have resigned rather than buck the governor’s vaccine mandate as the agency reports a new class of recruit graduates today just in time.

The agency did not respond to a Herald request for a tally of others who may have quit — in what is labeled as an “ordinary discharge” — as the vaccine mandate rolled out this week.

Sgt. Michael Cherven, president of the State Police Associatio­n of Massachuse­tts, said earlier this week that nearly 300 troopers had yet to get the vax. He said labor organizati­ons are asking for masking and testing for unvaccinat­ed members who don’t qualify for exemptions and who remain vaccine-hesitant.

“That’s all we’re asking for — a mask and weekly testing,” Cherven said Monday, adding he fears State Police could be left severely understaff­ed otherwise.

The State Police announced Wednesday that 168 trainees of the Massachuse­tts State Police 86th Recruit Training Troop are set to graduate and get to work by Friday.

“The graduates will report to barracks across the state to begin service as Troopers in the MSP’s Field Division, patrolling state highways and roads and performing other patrol duties from Cape Cod to the Berkshires,” agency spokesman Dave Procopio wrote in a statement.

Gov. Charlie Baker will preside over the graduation today at the DCU Center in Worcester.

Ironically, the State Police are already asking for overtime shifts to be filled for this weekend’s Head of the Charles Regatta.

The administra­tion has said it “does not anticipate any significan­t staffing shortages in the immediate future,” in a statement provided to the Herald.

Roughly 95% of the 42,518 executive-branch employees — including 90% of State Police staff — are in compliance with the COVID vaccine mandate, Baker’s office has said. Less than 4% of branch employees have failed to submit vaccine status or exemption paperwork.

The new recruits, the Herald has been told, still need to ride with a veteran trooper to learn the ropes while on the job.

The recruits, the agency added, have already been drilled in “criminal law, patrol procedures, physical fitness, marksmansh­ip, defensive tactics, ethics, deescalati­on training, fair and impartial policing, emergency vehicle operation, water safety” and more.

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