COVID Cases and Vaccine Mandates Destabilize Los Angeles and San Diego Police Departments

Written by William Hale

A significant portion of the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department personnel are not working due to COVID-19 cases. Logistical issues are beginning to emerge as LAPD will likely be severely understaffed by Super Bowl LVI on February 13th. 

Along with this year’s Super Bowl, LA’s SoFi stadium is also hosting the NFC Championship game on January 30th. Thus, police officers are expecting a rowdy few weeks of celebrations, events, and tourism centered around playoff football.

In this stretch of days most necessitating a police presence in the already crime-ridden city of Los Angeles, around 2,500 LAPD and LASD personnel are either home sick or quarantined due to the coronavirus.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore notes that around 50% of officers infected with COVID have been vaccinated. Even with the less than ideal long-term efficacy of COVID vaccines, many officers have been terminated from the department for not meeting vaccination requirements, a policy that Sheriff Alex Villanueva has publicly rejected.

Villanueva has previously noted that vaccine mandates for public departments will inevitably produce staff shortages, and this scenario has certainly manifested in San Diego. For starters, 70 San Diego Unified employees have recently been terminated for failing to comply with the COVID vaccine mandate. 

However, the SDPD is also experiencing its fair share of instability, as the San Diego Police Officers Association has recently filed an injunction against the City of San Diego. The injunction stems from dozens of officers looking to receive a religious or medical exemption from the COVID vaccine, but the city insists on interviewing those officers looking for an exemption without recording. But the police union is pushing back, citing the Police Officers Bill of Rights, which states that officers have the right to record any interview that could subject them to further discipline. In the meantime, the injunction will push back the vaccine mandate for San Diego police officers. 

COVID and its subsequent policy implications have generated more than enough chaos. But on the brightside, Omicron cases seem to be plateauing in Los Angeles, San Diego, and most of the country at large. 

Photo Cred: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images