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Alaska welcomes police officers who defy vaccine mandates: 'We back the blue'

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Alaska is reportedly welcoming police officers who have defied vaccine mandates and thus lost their jobs as a result of the requirement.

What are the details?

Last week, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) addressed the thousands of officers out of a job due to declining vaccine requirements and said that law enforcement members are welcome to come to Alaska and work.

"Across the country, members of law enforcement are being targeted & even fired for refusing to either get vaccinated or disclose if they have been," he tweeted. "Alaska's law enforcement community invites you to consider the 49th state where we back the blue."

Dunleavy's remarks were in response to a report from the Chicago Tribune that reported the vast number of Chicago police officers who refused to comply with vaccine mandates in the days following the city's demands that all state employees receive vaccinations or disclose their status.

Last week, Chicago authorities announced that any officers who refuse to comply with Chicago Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot's mandate may face disciplinary action up to and including termination.

What else?

The Anchorage Daily News reported that Dunleavy has no plans to impose vaccination mandates on state employees — and specifically law enforcement officials.

Jeff Turner, a spokesperson for the governor's office, said that Dunleavy's Twitter remarks were "a normal recruiting process," not a new policy.

Austin McDaniel, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, said that the agency has seen an increase in "lateral trooper applications" over the past year, and Betsey Holley, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Corrections, said that of the state's 1,064 positions for correctional officers, all but 95 have either been filled or offered to applicants.

“If you read some of the posts that are on our Facebook page, there have been people that have responded to (a recruitment) Facebook post saying, 'Oh, do you mandate vaccines?' It's just interesting that that's the way people are thinking. But yes, we'll welcome their applications if they want to apply," she said by phone Thursday.

McDaniel added, “The Alaska State Troopers are not running any targeted advertising addressing COVID-19 or the vaccine mandates occurring across the nation at the local, state and federal level. We would encourage any qualified applicant looking for an exciting career in law enforcement to consider a career with the Alaska State Troopers."

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