The NYPD is bracing for a potential mass exodus over the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate — issuing numerous guidance Thursday for cops who would rather quit than get the jab.
Police officials have reserved the auditorium at 1 Police Plaza Friday for the NYC Police Pension Fund to process retirement paperwork for cops with at least 20 years on the job, according to a pair administrative bulletins sent out to the workforce Thursday.
The retiring officers will be split into two arrival windows based on last name, the memo adds.
Those without 20 years on the job who wish to resign are being told to arrive at the auditorium at police headquarters on Saturday in four separate groups, again organized by last name, read a third memo sent out Thursday.
“This is to assist members who wish to retire due to the vaccination mandates,” the memo reads.
One police source railed against the haphazard communications with cops about the retirement scramble — just four days before the vaccine requirement will be enforced.
“This it’s just comical now,” the source said of the trio of memos issued just hours apart. “This is all a mess.”
As of Thursday, 25 percent of the NYPD’s workforce remained unvaccinated and face being placed on unpaid leave starting Monday if they do not get the jab in the coming days.
Hundreds of cops have been lining up to get the vaccine this week and police brass hope more get the jab over the weekend — but it was unclear how many cops will choose to hand in their gun and badge instead.
It was also not known how many department employees have applied for an exemption from the vaccine, which would allow them to continue working with pay while the application is pending. Those members would be subject to weekly testing and stricter masking guidelines.
The NYPD did not respond to a request seeking the tally of those cops, whose applications were due Wednesday.
“Since the mandate was announced, the NYPD vaccination rate has increased by approximately seven percent, with over 700 vaccinations today alone,” a City Hall spokesperson said. “We’re confident their rates will continue to climb as more members get vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19.”
The head of the Detective Endowment’s Association told The Post he expects a rise in retirements with 9,000 to 10,000 NYPD members — detectives and patrolmen — eligible to retire or “vest out,” meaning they opted for a delayed and lesser retirement package.
“There was no reason to rush this,” said DEA President Paul DiGiacomo, slamming the police brass and administration over a possible “devastating effect on public safety” due to a lack of manpower.
“The only reason the mayor is rushing this is for his own political gain,” DiGiacomo said. “He’s got intentions of running for governor and he has nothing to hang his hat on right now other than to say he has the most vaccinations in the country by forcing people to do it.”
Another police source blamed NYPD leadership for the slow-to-rise vaccination rates and hesitancy among the police force, which was one of the first groups eligible for the jab.
“I just think it’s not knowing, not being educated,” said the source, who has more than two decades with the department. “I think the job did a horrible job educating cops [on the vaccine]. They see all these conspiracy theories. Some of them are like, I don’t want an extra limb.”
The NYPD’s largest union has filed an appeal Thursday after their request for a restraining order to stop the mandate from taking effect was denied by a New York City judge.
However, other challenges to vaccine mandates have been shot down in the courts.