By CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)– Denver’s police union is blasting a survey showing the majority of officers in the city aren’t vaccinated against covid even though the union itself conducted the survey. The Denver Police Protective Association says the results of the survey aren’t accurate but CBS4 has obtained texts by Union President Nick Rogers that tell a different story.

(credit: CBS)

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Public Safety Manager Murphy Robinson says he learned of the survey from Rogers, who texted him the results Monday just hours before the Mayor announced a vaccine mandate for all city employees, “I was astonished with the numbers.”

According to the texts, the survey included 778 officers or about half the force. A total of 57% of the officers surveyed said they weren’t vaccinated and 72% said they would not get vaccinated as a condition of employment. While the union says the police administration itself has reported nearly 70% of first responders are vaccinated, Robinson says there is no break-out for police officers alone.

“We are required as law enforcement to get vaccinations all the time. Regardless of the reason, you’ve been ordered to get vaccinated, you’ve been ordered to take care of this.”

CBS4 asked union president Nick Rogers to comment on the survey results but he refused to do so until after CBS4 made them public. He then issued a press release calling the story, “fake news” and saying, “the survey responses were statistically and mathematically so far away of realistic numbers.” He says that’s why he didn’t release them publicly. But, when he shared them with Robinson and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, they say he didn’t raise any concerns about their validity.

(credit: CBS)

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After receiving the survey results, Robinson texted Rogers, “I guess the question is are they willing to risk discipline for this. The mayor is pretty clear that he won’t tolerate people making this political”

Rogers texted back, “That one I can’t answer. We are about to step off a cliff and I’m afraid it’s a big one, I had no idea on the numbers”

Mayor Hancock’s Chief of Staff Alan Salazar says while Rogers told him he didn’t like the mandate, he said he understood it and had the city’s back. Salazar says they have a good relationship and that’s why he’s concerned Rogers didn’t raise any red flags about the survey when he initially shared it with him.

Robinson says, if the union’s goal was to get the mayor to exempt police from the vaccine mandate, it failed, “This vaccine not about us as individuals, it is about us as whole making a difference so that we can make sure the public safe. My goal is not to do one disciplinary measure, but I will.”

Murphy Robinson (credit: CBS)

City employees have until the end of September to submit proof of vaccination or a medical or religious exemption. Robinson says he will be holding group and individual meetings with officers to urge compliance.

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The Denver Police Protective Association released this statement on Thursday night, The Denver Police Protective Association (PPA) finds it is compelled to respond to the lack of validity and accuracies of the Denver CBS4 news story released this evening. The Denver CBS4 news reporters are completely misinformed and failed to report correct information. The reporter was told by the PPA and the City of Denver they do not have the accurate number of police officers vaccinated or not vaccinated. The PPA did conduct an internal, informal and unscientific survey of its membership and unfortunately, the survey responses were statistically and mathematically so far away of realistic numbers, it was for this reason, the survey was not released. The only hard or more accurate numbers known at this time came from when the vaccine was first made available to first responders. Within three weeks of first responders receiving the vaccine, the PPA was advised by the administration approximately 69.7 percent had been vaccinated. Based on this information, the PPA’s survey was discovered to be fairly inaccurate and it was impossible for the PPA to provide a valid number of those vaccinated to these reporters based on the survey conducted. The PPA’s unscientific survey and the numbers provided by the administration, were too far apart making it impossible to determine which, if any, is accurate as to the number of officers actually vaccinated. We believe it is irresponsible and dangerous to report numbers that are not known to be true. Very clearly, the information put out by Denver CBS4 is not accurate and is the definition of “fake news.”

Shaun Boyd