The New Jersey Superior Court this morning dismissed the State PBA lawsuit challenging Governor Murphy’s mandate that correctional police officers receive the Covid vaccine or face termination.
We are obviously extremely disappointed with the Court’s decision to uphold the vaccine mandate for correctional police officers. This is not only a loss for these officers to make their own medical decisions, but it is going to have damaging public safety consequences should layoffs result from it. Testing and masking were not an unreasonable approach to limit the spread of a virus that seems to be retreating. In fact, in New Jersey and all around the world Covid restrictions are being lifted. It makes no sense for New Jersey to double down on one set of employees while removing restrictions for countless others.
Firing correctional police officers for not getting the vaccine is a disaster for public safety. Staffing in corrections is already a challenge and terminations for vaccine violations is going to lead to massive gaps in safety at our jails. This is most certainly going to lead to more attacks on the remaining officers, who will be overworked with forced overtime. We therefore fail to understand the value of risking public safety in exchange for a vaccine that simply is not a 100% defense against a pandemic that experts say is moving toward its conclusion.
We are grateful to Frank Crivelli, Esq. for his leadership in taking on this case and we know he is examining the decision to determine what future action is possible to address it.