The New York Police Department is preparing for a possible mass exodus due to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate — issuing several guidelines Thursday for policemen who would rather quit smoking than receive the vaccine.
Police officials booked the hall at 1 Police Plaza Friday for the NYPD Retirement Fund to process retirement papers for policemen with at least 20 years in the job, according to management circulars sent to the workforce Thursday.
The memo added that retired officers will be divided into two access windows based on last name.
Those without 20 years in the job who wished to quit were asked to arrive in the hall at police headquarters on Saturday in four separate groups, again arranged by last name, to read a third memo sent on Thursday.
“This is to assist members who wish to retire due to vaccination mandates,” the memo reads.
One police source criticized random contacts with cops about a retirement scramble – just four days before the vaccine requirement went into effect.
“It’s just comic now,” the source said of the three memos, issued just hours apart. “It’s all a mess.”
As of Thursday, 25 percent of the NYPD workforce remained unvaccinated and faced being placed on unpaid leave as of Monday if they did not receive a vaccination in the coming days.
Hundreds of cops were queuing up to get the vaccine this week and police officers are hoping for more over the weekend – but it’s not clear how many policemen would choose to hand over their gun and insignia instead.
It was also not known how many department employees had applied for a vaccine exemption, which would allow them to continue working with pay while the application is pending. These members will undergo weekly testing and stricter masking guidelines.
The NYPD did not respond to a request for a tally of these cops, whose applications were due to be submitted on Wednesday.
The head of the Endowment Investigators Association told The Post he expects a surge in retirees with 9,000 to 10,000 of its members — detectives and patrolmen — eligible for retirement or “merit,” meaning they’ve opted for a deferred retirement package and less.
“There was no reason to rush it,” said DEA chief Paul Digiacomo, criticizing police and administration officers about the “potentially devastating impact on public safety” of manpower shortages.
“The only reason the mayor is rushing into this is for his own political gain,” Digiacomo said. “He has an intention of running for governor and has nothing to hang his hat on at the moment except to say he has the most vaccinations in the country by forcing people to do so.”
Another police source blamed the NYPD leadership for slow vaccination rates and hesitation among the police force, which was one of the first groups eligible for a jab.
“I think it’s not about knowing, or not getting an education,” said the source, who has spent more than two decades with the department. “I think the mission did a terrible job of educating the cops [on the vaccine]. They see all these conspiracy theories. Some of them are like, ‘I don’t want an extra tip.
The New York Police Department’s largest union filed an appeal Thursday after a New York City judge rejected their request for a restraining order to halt enforcement of the mandate.
However, other challenges to vaccine mandates have been dropped in the courts.