Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said today 1,357 department employees had not submitted their vaccination status as of Friday, and each commander has received a list of their names to begin enforcement of the city’s vaccination and testing mandate.
Moore also told the Police Commission the department currently has a total of 9,473 sworn personnel and 2,670 civilian personnel. A “majority” of those who haven’t reported their status were sworn employees, but Moore said he did not have the exact number.
Each officer who has not yet reported their vaccination status will receive a notice telling them to report their status within 48 hours and to enter into an agreement to receive two tests per week, paid for by the individual employee.
If an employee does not submit information on their vaccination status, “the department, myself, will initiate disciplinary proceedings against the employees, civilian or sworn,” Moore said.
“Ultimately, our goal is to have to a 100% fully vaccinated workforce.”
Meanwhile Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose LASD force serves the county, continued today to assail a vaccine mandate issued by L.A. County Supervisors, which he has called an imminent threat to public safety that could prompt a mass exodus from a department he says is already woefully understaffed. Villanueva scheduled a late-morning news conference Tuesday to again protest the mandate.
“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,” Villanueva said in a statement last week. He had previously put the proportion of employees impacted at 10% and then said in a letter to the Supervisors last week that the mandate could cause him to lose up to 44% of his workforce. “We are experiencing an increase in unscheduled retirements, worker compensation claims, employees quitting, and a reduction in qualified applicants.”
The County Board of Supervisors issued its vaccination executive order in August. All Los Angeles County employees were required to register vaccination status by Oct. 1. Religious and medical exceptions are allowed by the order. Deadline reported at the end of September that 2,600 LASD employees has applied for a vaccine exemption.
The sheriff’s letter to the Board of Supervisors last week stated the department has 1,605 employees with 28 years of service or more, meaning “they could retire without financial consequence.” In that letter, he claimed the mandate could cause him to lose up to 44% of his workforce and repeating his assertion that he will not enforce the mandate for his deputies.
Villanueva said last month that, based on budget cuts and employee reluctance, “we have to pick and choose,” which mandates from the Board to enforce. The Board of Supervisors effectively oversees Villanueva’s department.
The resources argument 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 the department whose productivity has thus far been impacted by the virus, a considerable percentage more than his most aggressive estimate of 44% workforce loss, not to mention the loss department lives that could be prevented by vaccination.
LAPD commanders have received lists of the officers who are seeking medical or religious exemptions. Those requests will be evaluated on a case-by- case basis, according to the city, and if an exemption is approved, the employee will be required to test for Covid once per week, but the tests will be paid for by the city.
The union representing Los Angeles police officers sued the city on Friday, alleging unfair labor negotiations related to the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for municipal employees.
The union’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also seeks to stop the city from requiring unvaccinated employees who don’t have exemptions to pay for their Covid tests, at $65 per test, twice a week.
Los Angeles’ vaccination mandate was updated on Oct. 26, pushing back the deadline for employees to get vaccinated from Oct. 20 to Dec. 18.
Mayor Eric Garcetti called the mandate “critical to protecting the health and safety of our workforce and the Angelenos we serve” and employees who refuse vaccinatio “should be prepared to lose their job.”
Through Dec. 18, unvaccinated city employees have to submit to two Covid tests per week, and $65 per test will be deducted from their paychecks. Employees have to get tested during their free time, and testing has to be conducted “by the city or a vendor…of the city’s choosing,” according to the CAO’s report approved by the City Council on Tuesday.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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