The Los Angeles County Sheriff said the COVID-19 vaccine, designed to protect the public, will result in the dismissal of nearly half of his department.
In a letter to the Los Angeles County Supervisory Board on Thursday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva deplored a possible “mass eviction” of police officers if he enforced the rule.
“If I followed your term, I could lose 44 percent of my workforce in one day,” wrote Villanueva. “I cannot exercise reckless powers that endanger the safety of the public.”
The authority of the municipality requires that all employees be fully vaccinated. More from LAista:
The district is currently sending notifications to employees who have not yet followed the vaccination policy that they have 45 days from the date of notification to register as fully vaccinated, according to a statement from the county’s director general’s office, Fesia Davenport.
After 45 days, employees who have not demonstrated full vaccination or requested a medical or religious exemption will receive a five-day suspension and 30 days after returning from suspension to begin qualifying, the statement said.
The sheriff’s department – the largest in the country – employs about 18,000 people. About half are sworn Members.
“As the pandemic subsides, there is no excuse for your tenure,” Villanueva wrote. “This term is like putting up storm windows after the storm passes.”
But the storm did not pass. COVID-19 continues to affect in many parts of the country and new versions of the virus have almost ensured that the public will be battling the coronavirus in the near future. One simple solution to protect yourself and others, however, is is vaccination. Vaccination is safe, easy and free.
Vaccination mandates are also in place: the vaccination rate among LAPD officials has increased at least 65% after the mandate was announced, the police chief said earlier this month.
But Villanueva, who said he was vaccinated himself, does not seem to think this would apply to his employees, as he wrote in his letter: “As sheriff, I can tell you emphatically that this term will create a pandemic of chaos in to our municipality, which will result in tragic losses. “
Villanueva said in his letter that he nevertheless “ordered my staff to wear masks”. previously toiled over the power of attorney for the mask which he erroneously claimed to be “not supported by science”.