Tennessee gov appeals to officers resisting vaccine mandates

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Smith and Wesson President and CEO Mark Smith, left, and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee prepare for a ground breaking ceremony for the new Tennessee location for the firearms manufacturer, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, Alcoa, Tenn. (Scott Keller/The Daily Times via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s Republican governor has sought to capitalize on rising law enforcement tensions with city leaders surrounding COVID-19 vaccine mandates, offering to help pay unvaccinated out-of-state officers to relocate and join the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Gov. Bill Lee has released a new promotion video calling Tennessee’s state police force one of the most professional in the country and offering to cover moving expenses for those interested.

The offer makes Lee the latest Republican leader to capitalize on vaccine mandate tensions.

He didn’t immediately mention how much the state would reimburse officers or how it would be done. Some 280 law enforcement members have died of COVID-19 in 2021, statistics show.

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