LA Sheriff Says Won’t Force Understaffed Dept. to Vaccinate, Worried About ‘Homicide Rates’

© AP Photo / Damian DovarganesFILE- In this Jan. 15, 2014 file photo a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera
FILE- In this Jan. 15, 2014 file photo a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.10.2021
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LA Police officers were required to provide vaccination certificates by October 1, otherwise, they would be suspended from work. The measure has raised serious concerns over potential staff shortages.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in a statement on Friday criticized the mayor’s mandatory vaccination order, saying that the measure has produced “absolutely absurd results” as police officers are quitting units amid increasing crime rates.
Calling the situation an "imminent threat to public safety," the sheriff noted that he would not insist that his department follow local rules introduced by the LA County Board of Supervisors.
"I have repeatedly stated the dangers to public safety when 20% to 30% of my workforce is no longer available to provide service, and those dangers are quickly becoming a reality," he wrote in the statement.
Villanueva stressed that his department faced mass "unscheduled retirements, worker compensation claims, employees quitting, and a reduction in qualified applicants."
"As a result, homicide rates will continue to rise, response times will increase, solve rates will diminish, arrests will decline, patrol services will significantly decline and patrol stations will close," he wrote.
The sheriff noted that he is vaccinated and believes the vaccines are working. Nevertheless, the decision to vaccinate or not should be taken by the officers themselves, he said. Villanueva also added that the measure is irrelevant now, “with the pandemic diminishing” and urged local residents to appeal to the board of supervisors.
Vaccine mandates have been opposed in many cities across the United States, as municipal personnel and other categories of workers opt to retire rather than receive a jab.
Among others, concerns over personnel shortages have been expressed by labor leaders in New York City, where mandatory vaccinations were implemented earlier in the month, as well as some politicians, including the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis.
According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 72 percent of unvaccinated American workers would opt to leave their job if employers mandate vaccination without allowing weekly tests.
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