More than 2,600 LAPD officers have applied for religious exemptions from the city’s vaccine mandate. An additional 360 have applied for medical exemptions.
These nearly 3,000 LAPD officers all submitted their exemption applications before the department’s Sept. 13 deadline for requests for mandate waivers. (Related: Seattle cops organizing against COVID-19 vaccine mandate could lead to 200 officers losing their jobs.)
“We have seen a number of our personnel who have filed for an intent to have an exemption, based on either medical or sincerely held religious belief,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore. “The department will wait for the city to provide instructions relative to the interpretation and what will happen to those intentions to file.”
Moore added that around 6,573 LAPD employees – sworn officers and unsworn members alike – have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday. The department has a total of 12,315 employees.
The rest are being coerced into getting vaccinated under threat of unemployment following the passage of an ordinance from the Los Angeles City Council.
On Aug. 18, the city council approved an ordinance ordering all city employees – including the LAPD – to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 5. Exemptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. But even if city employees get exemptions, they have to go through twice-weekly COVID-19 testing to still be eligible for employment with the city.
To aid in the vaccination of its employees, the LAPD approved the creation of a mobile vaccination program. Department officials believe the mobile vaccine clinic can reach out to unvaccinated employees at their homes and get them to reconsider vaccinations.
In the last two weeks, the mobile vaccination program has vaccinated an additional 156 LAPD employees.
The LAPD does not have the lowest vaccination rate among the city’s other departments. This distinction goes to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the Department of Recreation and Parks (LADRP) and the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), which have vaccination rates of 30 percent, 38 percent and 34 percent, respectively.
Mayor to go after those who “abuse” vaccine exemptions
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is setting his sights on the thousands of city employees applying for religious and medical exemptions to the vaccine mandate.
“Every city employee is required to provide their vaccine status, and the deadline [to apply for exemptions] has passed,” said Garcetti. “Anyone who hasn’t given us that information must do it now.”
The city’s original deadline for applying for exemptions was on Sept. 7. It was extended because over 10,000 city employees had not provided the city with proof of vaccination. This included over 7,800 workers from LADWP, nearly 4,000 workers from LADRP, over 3,800 employees from the LAPD and 1,500 from the LAFD.
“This [vaccine mandate exemption] policy allows for medical and religious exemptions to protect certain workers’ health and constitutional rights, but let me be absolutely clear: We will not tolerate the abuse of these exemptions by those who simply don’t want to get vaccinated,” said Garcetti.
“To anyone thinking about filing a disingenuous exemption request, I strongly urge that you reconsider,” he added. “Every request will be carefully vetted, and our goal will always be to get as many Angelenos vaccinated as possible.”
Out of 57,476 city workers, the data shows that over 5,100 have requested religious exemptions, with over half of those waiver requests coming from the LAPD.
Garcetti is in the process of negotiating with labor unions that represent city employees – including Los Angeles’ police union – regarding possible disciplinary procedures for employees who refuse to get vaccinated and do not have a waiver and for those who fail to report their vaccination status.
Learn more about the vaccine mandates all over the United States and the people and groups like the LAPD officers that are resisting them at Vaccines.news.