(The Center Square) – Arizona’s state police force is in the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to bolster its ranks. The push comes on the heels of news that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t allowing exceptions to his vaccine mandate.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety announced that they would be in Washington from Sept. 7 through Sept. 19 to recruit potential new officers.
Their counterpart, the Washington State Patrol, shared Arizona's announcement on Twitter.
The recruiting push aimed specifically at Washington state is noticeable since news broke the week prior that Gov. Jay Inslee’s office had issued blanket denials of requests from officers to be exempt from his vaccination mandate.
Emails obtained by KTTH show a response to an inquiry about religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“At this time it has been confirmed that for any public-facing position, there are limited accommodations available,” the email read, adding that “there is no accommodation we can provide for their religious exemption requests.”
The governor’s order says that all state workers, K-12 and public university employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face losing their jobs. Inslee initially said the state would make religious and medical exemptions available.
A public information officer denied that Inslee’s vaccination decree was a factor in their decision to recruit in the state.
“We are not focused on Washington specifically, it's just our first recruiting trip ahead of other states we intend to visit,” said media specialist Bart Graves. “We don't have a set number of candidates we intend to recruit. We are hoping to fill numerous sworn and professional staff (civilian) positions.”
Arizona DPS has advertised out-of-state recruitment opportunities earlier in the year, including welcoming lateral moves from other police departments. However, it’s yet to single out a state as it had done in Washington this year.
Gov. Doug Ducey retweeted the Washington State Patrol announcement that Arizona’s police force was recruiting there, saying, “in Arizona we’re funding the police.”