Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva Says He Won’t Enforce County’s Covid Vaccine Mandate Among His Deputies

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

On the eve of an order from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that all county employees get vaccinated against Covid-19, Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he would not enforce the rule in his department.

“This issue has become so politicized, there are entire groups of employees that are willing to be fired and laid off rather than get vaccinated,” said Villanueva in his weekly public Q&A, “so I don’t want to be in a position to lose 5-10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate while at the same time I’m bare-bones with the defunding effort.”

More from Deadline

There is little doubt that some law enforcement professionals in the city do not want to be vaccinated. Beyond Villanueva’s estimate, a group of LAPD employees sued the city last month over a similar mandate, saying the rule would violate their right to privacy by forcing them to reveal their vaccination status.

Villanueva spent the first half of his Q&A going through the 2021-2022 county budget, which cuts his department’s $3.6 billion budget by about 4%

He said that, based on budget cuts and employee reluctance, “we have to pick and choose,” which mandates from the Board to enforce. It’s an interesting stance since the Board Of Supervisors is, effectively, oversees Villanueva’s department.

The resources argument is also baffling given that, of the 18,000 LASD employees, over 10,000 have either had Covid or been quarantined as a result of close contact with someone who was infected. That’s more than 55% of his department whose productivity has likely been impacted significantly by the virus. That’s hard to square with the 5-10% Villanueva guesses would have a problem with the vaccine which, the Sheriff says he personally has received.

The mandate is due to go into effect on Friday.

In July, on the eve of an indoor mask mandate from his bosses, Villanueva said he would not enforce that rule, either.

He said in a statement then that the efficacy of wearing masks “is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”

Villanueva today reminded LASD employees that they do, in fact, need to wear masks indoors.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.