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DENVER (KDVR) — More than two dozen of Denver’s first responders have quit over the city and county’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees.

The number of sworn personnel in Denver who resigned or retired over the employee vaccine mandate totals 27, according to numbers the city provided on Tuesday:

  • Denver Police Department: 15
  • Denver Sheriff Department: 7
  • Denver Fire Department: 5

Another 34 employees face possible discipline for not complying with the mandate:

  • Denver Sheriff Department: 21
  • Denver Fire Department: 6
  • Denver Police Department: 4
  • Executive Department of Safety: 2
  • 911 Emergency Communications: 1

Discipline hearings for the sheriff’s employees are set to begin Wednesday, while the others are set to start on Thursday.

Denver public safety employee numbers

The turnover is small relative to total workforce numbers, but it’s happening at a time when public safety departments are already having trouble keeping people on the job.

The Denver Sheriff Department, for example, has 874 deputies at full strength, but it’s suffering a shortage of more than 200 employees to staff the county jail.

As of Sept. 30 — the day before the vaccine mandate went into effect — each department counted the following employee numbers:

  • Denver Police Department: 1,515 sworn, 286 civilian
  • Denver Fire Department: 1,044 sworn, 45 civilian
  • Denver Sheriff Department: 665 sworn, 171 civilian
  • Executive Department of Safety: 166
  • 911 Emergency Communications: 146

What happens to employees who don’t follow the COVID-19 vaccine mandate?

City and County of Denver employees who violate the COVID-19 vaccine mandate face penalties.

Those who refuse to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 “under any circumstances” will be fired, the city said.

Other non-compliant employees will be suspended for 10 days without pay, and they must abide by the vaccine mandate or be fired.

The city said employees “who are close to being fully vaccinated” will not be disciplined.