All but one of the West Vancouver Police Department’s 90 staff members, including officers and civilian employees, have complied with the force’s order for vaccinations against COVID-19.
The department announced last fall that its members would face a vaccine mandate, effective Jan. 11. When that deadline arrived this week, only one staffer had failed to declare their vaccination status, according to Const. Kevin Goodmurphy, West Vancouver police spokesman.
“Human resources is following up with this employee to determine their status. If they do not provide their vaccination status, then next steps, in accordance with our policy, could include being placed on leave without pay,” he said.
Municipalities and first responder agencies have been turning their attention to coping with high rates of absenteeism due to the rapidly spreading Omicron variant, but Goodmurphy said the department’s shift scheduling and contingency plans mean front-line policing should not be impacted.
“Due to the rotational nature of shift work that is tied to policing, a large percentage of our staff may be off depending on the day of the week and the time of the day. As such, our service delivery has been minimally affected by Omicron,” he said. “In addition, our professional staff are all fully trained and experienced members, so we are flexible and adaptable in that we can redeploy staff on short notice from specialty sections or administration to support our front-line patrol members.”
To help mitigate the risk of COVID cases spreading in the department, they are, however, limiting some services the public could normally access at the front counter. That includes finger printing, which has been suspended. Information on background checks and freedom of information requests is available through the West Vancouver Police Department's website. Residents can also use the website to file non-emergency police reports online.
The front desk can still be reached through the non-emergency number at 604-925-7300 but wait times may be longer than usual.
“We do appreciate the understanding, and we hope to have full front counter in-person services available soon,” Goodmurphy said.