While New York's Top Cop Supports Vaccine Mandates, LA's Sheriff Stands Firmly Against It

While New York City's top cop has voiced his support for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for officers, the Los Angeles County Sheriff has stood in opposition to such a mandate.

In a recent press release, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that the county's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees is causing a "mass exodus" in his department.

"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," Villanueva said in the statement.

"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."

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

COVID-19 Vaccine
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva recently criticized the county's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, while New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea has expressed support for such a mandate. Above, a nurse shows off a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of the Chatham County Health Department on December 15, 2020, in Savannah, Georgia. Sean Rayford/Getty

The COVID-19 vaccine mandate in Los Angeles County was implemented in August and required all county employees to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by October 1. The mandate allowed for religious and medical exemptions.

Earlier this month, Villanueva said that he did not plan to enforce the county's vaccine mandate within his department, saying that many of his employees would rather leave the job instead of receiving the shot.

"I don't want to be in a position to lose 5, 10% of my workforce overnight on a vaccine mandate," he said in a video posted to Facebook earlier this month.

In his most recent statement, Villanueva noted that he has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and believes that they do work, but added that employees should be able to make their own choice on receiving the shot.

"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," he said.

On the other hand, New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Dermot Shea has expressed support for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for his employees.

In August, Shea said he "would 100 percent," support a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for NYPD cops.

Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees, with a deadline set for Friday.

On Thursday, Shea made a final call for NYPD cops to get vaccinated against the virus ahead of the city's deadline, saying in a video sent to NYPD employees that "We're at the end of the wire here."

"By Friday you're supposed to be vaccinated. Starting on Monday, you will be put in a no-pay status," Shea said. "On Monday when this thing really starts being enforced we're going to check your vaccination status and if you're not vaccinated you will get no pay and you're going to be not able to work...I don't think anyone wants that to happen. I'm sure you don't want that to happen. I certainly don't."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff told Newsweek they have no further comments on the matter.