San Jose Reserve Police Officer Resigns COVID-19 Vaccine Tenure – NBC Bay Area

As a growing number of cities issue vaccination warrants, employees face a difficult choice: get vaccinated, get an exemption, or potentially lose their jobs.

San Jose is among those requiring all employees to show proof of COVID vaccination by September 30. Now, some concerns could lead to a wave of resignations, creating a new kind of public safety problem.

Dave Gutierrez, a reserve police officer in San Jose, said the vaccination warrant prompted him to resign.

Gutierrez is not vaccinated, but said he was more than willing to undergo negative weekly COVID tests in order to keep his post. Instead, the city’s new tenure forced his hand and he completed his last shift as a reserve San Jose officer on Saturday.

“For me, that’s my faith,” he said. “What I will and will not put in my body and I have chosen not to get the vaccine.”

Gutierrez sent a letter to the city manager on Monday expressing concerns about the city’s vaccination mandate requiring employees to show proof of vaccination or obtain a medical exemption. Employees who are unable to show either would face disciplinary action, including termination.

“Disciplinary action is when you’ve done something wrong,” Gutierrez said. “I didn’t do anything wrong – by choosing not to be vaccinated, why would you be disciplined? “

Gutierrez spent 23 years with the San Jose Police Department before retiring in 2019 and returning as a reserve officer. He said he could have stayed if he could have continued to test for the virus every week. Gutierrez is concerned that more full-time officers may also seek to resign due to the vaccination mandate.

“We are already understaffed and cannot afford to lose any more,” said Gutierrez.

So far, more than 200 city employees have requested exemptions, most for religious reasons.

San Jose said it was trying to protect employees.

“We are working with the police and the fire department at the moment,” said San Jose communications director Carolina Camarena. “But remember that the main reason for the mandate is to maintain the safety of the workforce and we know that vaccination is the # 1 safety protection against COVID and its variants.”

Gutierrez said his entire career has been devoted to public safety. It was now a public safety warrant that prompted him to hang up his uniform.

NBC Bay Area has contacted the San Jose Police Officers Association, which said it is still negotiating with the city, but supports a policy allowing either vaccination or routine testing.

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