BOSTON (CBS) -- 11 Massachusetts State troopers and one sergeant were fired Friday for refusing to get the COVID vaccine. All 12 are now considered "dishonorably discharged."
The troopers were first put out on administrative leave, but still did not get the shot. Later Friday afternoon, the State Police put out the orders, terminating the troopers. Some of the troopers had more than 10 years on the job.
I-Team sources say the sergeant that was fired was with the K-9 unit and had their dog taken away last fall. Another trooper, a woman whose dad was also a trooper and was killed in the line of duty, was fired Friday as well.
A few troopers have also resigned over the vaccine mandate.
The action comes roughly eight months after Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order requiring all executive branch employees to provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 17 or face disciplinary action, including possible termination.
In a statement, State Police Association of Massachusetts Troopers President Pat McNamarra said Gov. Charlie Baker should be "ashamed" for the mandate he had put in place:
"Governor Baker has proven yet again just how hypocritical he is. As part of a Friday night news dump, he has terminated at least 12 Troopers due to his vaccine mandate. No appeals. No due process. Just a Governor hell bent on breaking the backs of the State Police who work tirelessly each day to keep the Commonwealth safe.
His clear and petty animosity has been on full display for months now. While he closes COVID testing sites, asked that the State House be reopen without a mandate and has generally shown that we are in the endemic phase of COVID-19, he is still insisting on firing 12 Troopers from an already short staffed department. The Troopers deserve better. The Commonwealth deserves better. And, Charlie Baker should be ashamed."
Gov. Baker's office has not responded to McNamarra's statement.
WBZ-TV Security Analyst and former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says the punishment is serious for the troopers and can leave a lasting stain on their records.
"It is a severe punishment, but it's appropriate for a trooper or police officer to refuse an order that's a legal order," said Davis. "This is a very significant move on the part of the Governor and it shows the governor is extremely serious about his desire to protect the public."
Davis says the firings won't have much of an impact on public safety, but police morale on the other hand may be different.
"It's a tough time to do the job. And police are uncertain as to what the community wants from them. It's just another issue that doesn't help morale."
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