LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Writes Alert Warning of Imminent Threat to Public Safety

Official portrait of 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California, Alex Villanueva (SOURCE: Los Angeles County)
Official portrait of 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California, Alex Villanueva (SOURCE: Los Angeles County).

IMMINENT THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY
October 28, 2021

As homicides continued to rise, the Board of Supervisors voted to require all Los Angeles County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face discipline, up to and including termination.

The Board’s vaccination mandate is causing a mass exodus within the Department, which is an absolutely absurd result. I have repeatedly stated the dangers to public safety when 20%-30% of my workforce is no longer available to provide service, and those dangers are quickly becoming a reality. We are experiencing an increase in 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.

A large part of our workforce who is close to retirement finds it easier to simply retire, than be forced into a decision which should be a personal choice. Other personnel who were called “heroes” for diligently working in service to the community during the pandemic, while other professions stayed home, have decided to finally get those surgeries they have been putting off for injuries sustained throughout their careers (knees, shoulders, back, etc.).

This unintended consequence to public safety was predictable. In the near future, unless something changes, the “defunded” and “de-staffed” Sheriff’s Department will no longer be able to sustain the staffing levels required to maintain public safety at the status quo.

My personnel already wear masks and would submit to routine COVID-19 testing, so termination makes no sense.

Personally, I am vaccinated and believe the vaccine works, but the choice to receive the vaccine is a personal one, and an individual who served the community tirelessly before there was a vaccine should not now be fired because they made a decision about their own body.

If you have an opinion on this matter, please call the Board of Supervisors and voice it. With the pandemic diminishing, there is no justification for the Board mandate; it is like putting up the storm windows after the storm has passed.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva

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