LA sheriff declines county vaccine mandate for his officers

The Los Angeles County sheriff reiterated this week that he would not force his staff members to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, in defiance of the county’s order that all of its 110,000 employees show proof of vaccination by October 1.

“No, I’m not forcing anyone,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday after reading aloud a submitted question at a town hall-style event streamed live on Facebook. “The issue has become so political that there are whole groups of employees who are more inclined to be fired and fired rather than vaccinated,” the sheriff said, adding that he could not afford to lose any employees on the county mandate. .

The LA County Sheriff’s Department has more than 10,000 officers and 8,000 civilian staff members. According to an investigative report by the Los Angeles Times last month, there have been at least 18 coronavirus outbreaks, accounting for 334 cases.

The defiance of Sheriff Villanueva – a politically divisive figure – underscores the difficulty of trying to reduce vaccination rates among law enforcement officials across the country. Officials in many cities are upset about losing officers.

The nation’s largest New York Police Department said 67 percent of its employees had received at least one dose. This is despite a city mandate that went into effect last month that requires city workers to submit for vaccinations or weekly tests. “I will support a vaccine mandate,” New York Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea said Thursday during a news conference with Mayor Bill DeBlasio.

Vaccination rates are much lower in the armies of other cities. Memphis and Louisville recently reported that less than half of its officials have been vaccinated.

The Fraternal Order of Police, a national association that represents 356,000 officers, estimates that 724 officers have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

In Los Angeles, Hilda Solis, chair of the county’s board of supervisors, signed an executive order in August directing all county employees to show proof of coronavirus vaccination by October 1. A trial option was not provided as some others in the order. Local governments have done it.

Sheriff Villanueva’s refusal to enforce that requirement is familiar. In July, when Los Angeles County became the first major county to roll back a mask requirement for all people indoors in public places, they said their officials would not enforce the mandate.

Sheriff Villanueva wrote in a statement on his website, “Forcing vaccinated and already COVID-19 patients to wear masks indoors is not supported by science,” his department “will not expend our limited resources and Instead it will ask for voluntary compliance.” “

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