First responders need vaccinations

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Editor:

Beginning last month, Michigan entered Phase 1B of its vaccination plan, allowing teachers, anyone over the age of 65, and first responders, including law enforcement, to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This is great news. As a retired law enforcement officer, I know the daily contact our police have with people and the challenges that they face during this pandemic. They are unable to work from home or socially distance, and their essential roles put them at high risk of exposure.

Michigan is right to prioritize our first responder population in this second phase of vaccine allocation. These men and women are critical to protecting our communities, keeping law and order and minimizing crime. And at a time when our country remains politically divided and the coronavirus impacts crime, this is more important than ever.

To most effectively protect Michigan and perform their duties, police officers must be vaccinated, and I encourage them to do so. Our health care industry is working tirelessly, from the doctors, nurses and other health professionals treating patients, to the manufacturers and distributors creating and delivering vaccines. Their work has helped save lives, and they will ultimately keep our first responders and frontline workers safe from the virus and ready to help others.

David Leonard

Walkerville

Retired, Grand Rapids Police Department

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