Big cities show slow vaccination rate for officers, but not Wisconsin

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:13 PM CDT|Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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BARABOO, Wis. (WMTV) - A recent article from the Washington Post shows low vaccination rates of police officers in certain cities across the country, showing potential hesitancy among the ranks.

However, that is not the case in the NBC15 viewing area.

The data from the Washington Post outlines numbers from police departments nationwide.

Thirty-nine percent of sworn officers in Las Vegas, Nevada received the COVID-19 vaccine, 36% in Atlanta, and 28% in Columbus, Ohio.

However, these are the numbers for staff in local police departments, when it comes to percentage of staff vaccinated:

  • Madison Police Dept.: 85%
  • Janesville Police Dept.: 80%
  • Milton Police Dept.: 71%
  • Baraboo Police Dept.: 66%
  • Beloit Police Dept.: 55%

Baraboo Lt. La Broscian and many of his fellow officers aren’t waiting to get the shot.

“[I wanted] to show my officers, hey I’m doing this with you, if you choose to, if you choose not to, that’s your choice,” La Broscian said. “We have roughly 89% of our sworn officers that are vaccinated.”

That’s more than double than those big city squads.

It’s a similar story in Milton, Wisconsin. Seventy-one percent of Chief Scott Marquardt’s department is vaccinated. A significantly higher rate than big cities like Las Vegas, Atlanta and Columbus.

“I don’t know if it says much about policing, as much as it says about information that we’ve been able to push out from our county and state health departments,” Marquardt said.

Marquardt said accessibility and education are key to vaccination. A lack of either could influence someone’s decision.

“We are in uncharted territory,” Marquardt said. “People are doing the best with where they’re at. Wherever people are at is where they’re making their decisions from.”

However, both LA Broscian and Marquardt say overall, the decision to vaccinate is a personal one.

“It has a lot to do with what an employee’s fam situation is, their personal health, thoughts and understanding and level of risk to them and family,” Marquardt said.

“I don’t look at them any differently, they have their own beliefs and reasons,” La Broscian said.

Some law enforcement agencies do not keep track of who gets vaccinated, like the Rock and Dane County Sheriff’s Offices.

Rock County officials say this is to maintain employee privacy.

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