Sunday, January 16, 2022

Los Angeles County Sheriff Will Not Enact Vaccine Mandate

LOS Anger the rise in crime.

His disobedience to an order approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last summer was rebuked by Janice Khan, one of five commissioners who unanimously supported the policy.

“He is exposing both his deputies and the public they face every day to unnecessary risk,” she said in a statement. “What we need from the sheriff right now is leadership, at least once.”

Villanueva, who is due to be re-elected next year, violated other health regulations during the pandemic. He said last month that he would not force his deputies to enact a mandate requiring vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in public areas.

Vaccination pledges are spreading across the country for government employees, and conflicts with first responders over the demands are emerging in many cities. Nearly 9,000 New York City employees, including 34 officers, were sent on unpaid leave for refusing to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, which took effect Monday.

The Los Angeles Police Department said last week that 70% of its officers and civilians were fully vaccinated. In accordance with city policy, LAPD employees who do not want to be vaccinated have the option of being tested twice a week at their own expense.

Los Angeles is the most populous county in the country with a population of about 10 million, and the Villanueva Agency is the largest sheriff’s office in the country, with about 10,000 deputy jurors and 5,800 civil servants.

All county employees were required to register their vaccination status and show proof of complete vaccination or receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons by October 1. About 52% of sheriff’s deputies and other employees are fully vaccinated, compared with 77% of all county employees. …

More than 3,000 deputies and other department staff have not yet registered their vaccination status in the district. Among those who registered and reported their unvaccinated status, Villanueva said more than 3,100 MPs and 1,000 civilians could be fired.

By comparison, the sheriff said the 3,100 man is close to the department’s patrol volume.

“So imagine what would happen if they were all stopped,” Villanueva said at a press conference. “What would the department look like?”

Villanueva also said he expects hundreds of additional deputies to retire or leave the department early due to the mandate, although the county said on Tuesday that there has been no increase in retirements since the claim was approved.

Villanueva said he is vaccinated, but believes that others should make their own choices and not get vaccinated.

The sheriff has the power to fire employees, and due to his refusal to follow the policy, it was unclear if anyone in his department would lose their jobs.

Jesús Ruiz, a county spokesman, said that, like all department heads, Villanueva “is responsible for adhering to the county’s policies.” In an email, Ruiz said he couldn’t imagine what could happen now that Villanueva is out of mandate.

Despite the October 1 deadline, the county is only now sending notifications to those unable to register and get vaccinated. After employees receive the notice, Ruiz said they have 45 days before they face a five-day suspension, and then 30 days before being fired.

Observer Catherine Barger called it “regrettable” that Villanueva did not discuss the decision.

“I strive to support and listen to our sheriff’s rank and file to deal with the obstacles and hurdles they face so that we can reach a solution,” she said in a statement. “Ultimately, we all share a commitment to public safety.”

Los Angeles International Airport Police Chief Cecil Rambeau, who is running against Villanueva, said the order must be followed.

“Vaccines save lives and assistants hire rescuers, we need to have a sheriff to lead the department to enforce the vaccine mandate to keep MPs safe, as well as everyone they interact with in Los Angeles County,” he said in his statement.

According to Officer Down’s memorial page, COVID-19 is the most common cause of law enforcement-related deaths in 2020 and 2021.

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