NYPD: Unvaccinated officers must wear masks or face discipline

The NYPD is cracking down on new COVID mandates.

A spokesperson tells FOX 5 NY that members of the service who want to remove their face coverings must be fully vaccinated, and provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to the medical division.

Those who don't have it will have to wear face coverings while working and while inside department vehicles.

"I think last October, we had sort of an initial iteration of this where the Mayor's office, the Governor, they were really sort of concerned about the public feedback of seeing officers without wearing masks," says Keith Taylor, an adjunct assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Taylor, who is also a former NYPD Emergency Service Unit supervisor, says the news doesn’t come as a surprise.

The department currently has just a 47% vaccination rate and has struggled to convince its rank and file to get the jab, despite offering the vaccine at multiple times and locations.

Fifty-six members of the force have died, so far, from issues related to COVID-19.

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"I think if we consider the circumstances of what we're dealing with now in terms of trying to save lives, that the officers should consider the mask as a part of their uniform," Taylor mentions.

Supervisors, including sergeants and directors, will be responsible for enforcing the rules, although it’s unclear what the exact consequences will be for those who don't abide by them.

Vaccinated or not, all police officers will still have to mask up when interacting with members of the public and in the following locations: Elevators, schools, public transit, homeless shelters, jails, nursing homes and hospitals.