Police unions and officers are pushing back by filing lawsuits to block the mandates, raising fears law enforcement could be shorthanded and undermine public safety.

Police departments around the U.S. that are requiring officers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are running up against pockets of resistance that some fear could leave law enforcement shorthanded and undermine public safety, AP reports.

Police unions and officers are pushing back by filing lawsuits to block the mandates. In Chicago, the head of the police union called on members to defy the city’s Friday deadline for reporting their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Seattle’s police department sent detectives and non-patrol officers to emergency calls this week because of a shortage of patrol officers that union leaders fear will become worse because of vaccine mandates.

The standoffs are playing out at a time when many police departments already are dealing with surging homicide rates and staff shortages unrelated to the vaccine. Cities and police leaders are now weighing the risk of losing more officers to resignations, firings or suspensions over their refusal to get vaccinated.

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