LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he won’t enforce vaccine mandate at his agency

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2020, file photo Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks at a news conference in Los Angeles. Villanueva says he will not enforce the county's vaccine mandate in his agency. Villanueva, who oversees the largest sheriff's department in the county with roughly 18,000 employees, said Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in a Facebook Live event that he does not plan to carry out the county's mandate, under which Los Angeles County employees had to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva this week said he doesn’t plan on enforcing a vaccine mandate at the department. 

The reason: He said he doesn’t want to lose a significant number of his workforce. 

The mandate requires all Los Angeles County employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1 and has exemptions only for religious and medical reasons. 

Villanueva, a Democrat, told guest host Raymond Arroyo on “The Ingraham Angle” on Friday that hundreds of sheriff’s employees have said they would be willing to lose their jobs rather than get the vaccine – and Los Angeles has too many crises like the surging homeless population for it to lose any more deputies.

He said the sheriff’s department was targeted politically with a hiring freeze after already being down by more than 1,000 employees. 

“This is so politicized, I cannot in good conscience impose a mandate like that,” he said. 

He called the mandate “poorly thought out, poorly executed.”

“I’m not going to be part of that,” he told Arroyo. 

He added that he is vaccinated and is encouraging sheriff’s employees to get theirs but he doesn’t want to impose it. The sheriff’s department employs around 18,000 workers. 

The mandate was issued by executive order in August. 

In July, Villanueva said he wouldn’t enforce a county mask mandate that was reinstated after a surge of the Delta variant, claiming it wasn’t “backed by science.” 

More than 26,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Los Angeles County, which is the nation’s most populous county.

Of the county’s roughly 10 million residents, 78% have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 69% are fully vaccinated, according to public health officials.

Despite plummeting case numbers, the city of Los Angeles just approved one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates that requires anyone going to a bar, restaurant, shopping center, salon, gym, and many other locations to be vaccinated. 


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