Members of Milwaukee Police Supervisors' Organization to be vaccinated by Nov. 30

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The city of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Supervisors' Organization (MPSO) have signed an agreement that requires union members to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, officials announced Wednesday, Oct. 13.

Members of the MPSO who are not vaccinated by Nov. 30 will be required to wear a mask at all times while on duty.

Dr. Jeff Pothof, the chief quality officer for UW Health, said, "It probably used to be more about 'are they going to be safe, are they going to be injured?' But now for the last almost two years, it's been 'are they going to get COVID?'"

“The city and the MPSO are interested in taking reasonable steps to protect individuals, their families and the community from COVID-19,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “I appreciate the thoughtfulness the MPSO has brought to our discussions on this matter.”

Dr. Pothof said, "They're called upon to assist citizens in times where usually folks are struggling. And it can sometimes be difficult to do all those things you need to do to 100% protect yourself."

Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson said, "Because police are probably the most forward-facing entity that we have in the city, it’s important those folks that interact with the public have the vaccination. It's the best tool and the most effective tool that we have to preventing the spread of COVID."

The voluntary agreement includes provisions for administration of the vaccination to members while they are on duty, officials say. If previously vaccinated, members can receive two hours of administrative leave. The vaccine is mandatory regardless of previous infection status. 

“All members of the MPSO always have the protection and safety of our community first on their minds,” MPSO President Carmelo Patti said. “We truly appreciate the leadership of Mayor Barrett and his willingness to work with us on this issue to find a path that achieves those goals.”

Those who are in violation will face discipline including suspensions, and, for repeated violations, possible discharge, officials say. This is similar to the consequences general city employees face for violation of vaccination requirements.

The memorandum of understanding signed this week will be in place until the end of 2022 unless there is mutual agreement to extend it or end it sooner.

The MPSO represents sworn Milwaukee police employees with the rank of Sergeant, ID Supervisor, Lieutenant, Captain, or Deputy Inspector.

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