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CSPD Covid Mask Mandate

The CSPPA has been asked to distribute the attached letter on behalf of members opposed to the pending CSPD Covid mask mandate.  While the PPA has not adopted a position that either supports or opposes the mandate, the Board voted to disseminate the information to assist in facilitating dialogue among members.  If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding the letter, please contact Mareshah Duncan at Tigger1755@gmail.com or Pete Tomitsch at petetomitsch@hotmail.com.At the request of the authors and approximately 150 additional members opposed to the mandate, the PPA did bring this letter forward at our September 21st meeting with the Chiefs.

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Dear Chief Niski,

We, all employees in good standing of the Colorado Springs Police Department, would like to take this opportunity to express to you some of our concerns.  As we observe national trends, we are aware of pressures you must be under, to consider a variety of policies regarding the mandating of masks and / or the Covid-19 vaccine for employees.

We collectively and individually declare to you and other decision makers on this matter, the following:

In the last 18 months or so, the world has experienced upheaval on multiple fronts.  That upheaval, as you know, has had a very direct impact on first responders, law enforcement officers and their civilian support personnel.  As the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  As an organization, formed of individual employees, we have not one time, failed to answer the call.  We have accepted the risk of danger and dedicated ourselves, wholeheartedly, to the service of our community.  We have engaged with riots, ever changing Covid protocol, lack of jail capacity, changing legal protocol, people in crisis because of collective stress…and that is just in the last 18 months.  I say all this to say, I know it is not lost on you, what we have willingly sacrificed to to stay true to our calling in this profession.

With those sacrifices in mind, we declare to you that the one area we are not willing to sacrifice or compromise, is our bodily autonomy and our personal decision making regarding medical decisions.  We hold that as human beings, and as citizens or permanent residents of the United States of America, we have bodily autonomy and will make medical decisions as deemed best by ourselves, our personal doctors and our given faith.

Even on this matter, we were all willing to concede some points…for a time.  That time has passed.  The email that was disseminated on Friday afternoon, September 10, 2021, created a great deal of concern among our ranks.  I will address those concerns with questions and ask that you give answers to those concerns.

We hold the directive laid out in this email to be discriminatory.  While the directive, and its follow-up email, make an attempt to address this concern, they do not do so effectively.  The reality of the outcome of following this directive is that every employee’s personal medical choice will be on visible display.  Those medical decisions have not been arrived at lightly.  While the factors that have led us to those decisions on a personal level are not all identical, we who have made this decision, individually, have either medical concerns based on our particular health circumstances and / or religious concerns based on our individually, sincerely held beliefs.

Many of us who have made personal medical decisions that do fall under the primary exception listed in this directive, are also concerned about the active discrimination on display.  We do not wish to be distinguished from our coworkers based merely on vaccination status and many of us will not choose to provide that vaccination status to the organization, as it is private medical information.

Knowing what we now know regarding the efficacy of the Covid 19 vaccine, we also question the scientific basis for this directive.  We know conclusively that individuals who have received the Covid 19 vaccination are no less likely to contract or to pass on, SARS CO V2, or any of its variants, by way of co-exisiting in the same space as others.  Their viral loads and their capacity to spread the virus have been shown to be equal to or greater than, those who have not received this vaccine.  Additionally, this does not take into account any consideration of those who have contracted and recovered from Covid 19 and naturally created antibodies.  Contrary to the statement made in the follow-up email, individuals who have recovered from Covid 19 have proven to have much greater immunity than those who have received the Covid 19 vaccine.

We are also aware that a similar directive has been given to Colorado Springs Fire Department personnel, however has not been given for employees of the city, at-large.  The timeline for that directive going into effect for the Fire Deparment is different from the timeline for the Police Department, by several weeks.  While we understand that each organization has its own leadership and decision making processes, we question, if these directives are truly being made from a place of safety consideration, why the discrepancies?  What makes one date or deadline any more or less dangerous than another date or deadline?  Safety decisions, as we all know from our law enforcement experience in potentially dangerous circumstances, are decisions made in the moment, with available, known factors, for the primary purpose of safety, in the moment.  They carry a different burden of proof than a legal action that would otherwise violate a person’s rights.  This is more consistent with the manner in which Covid protocol decisions were made over the course of 2020, as available information was constantly shifting.  Arbitrary and inconsistent dates and deadlines do not lend weight to the claim that these decisions are being made under the guise of safety.

Considering those factors, we ask that the scientific basis for issuing directives that require employees to provide personal medical information, or be discriminated against in a punitive manner, and then punished for not complying, be disclosed.  We also ask that this decision making involve members of our ranks.  Those of us wrestling with these decisions for ourselves and our families have done extraordinary amounts of research in order to arrive at those decisions.

Additionally, there have been multiple communications that state there is no employee vaccine mandate in effect “at this time.”  Those three words are very concerning.  They let us know it is on the table…at table at which we do not currently have a seat…for consideration.  We acknowledge that there are those in our society who feel it is necessary for every person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.  We reject this perspective as medical tyranny and hold that as human beings, and as citizens or permanent residents of the United States of America, we have bodily autonomy and will make medical decisions as deemed best by ourselves, our personal doctors and our given faith and beliefs.

As law enforcement officers, we have sworn an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado.  We defend the individual rights and individual liberties of the members of our community on a daily basis.  We will not stand idly by and watch our own individual rights and freedoms be taken from us.

By penning this letter, we do not intend to create any disruption.  We will continue to dedicate ourselves to the on-going success of our organization and our stated purpose of serving and protecting our community.

With all respect, sincerity and determination,

Employees of CSPD

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