LAPD Chief to Enforce COVID Vaccine Mandate for Department

LAPD Chief to Enforce COVID Vaccine Mandate for Department Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Michel Moore speaks during the Watts Juneteenth Street Fair. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Michel Moore speaks during the Watts Juneteenth Street Fair in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California on June 19. (Patrick T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Friday, 12 November 2021 08:10 AM

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said he plans to enforce the city's vaccine mandate and is prepared to fire any department employee who fails to comply.

Moore's stance differs from that of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who recently said he won't comply with the mandate because it could lead to more crime due to thousands of officers leaving the department.

Los Angeles requires that unvaccinated employees get inoculated by Dec. 18. Until then, unvaccinated workers must get tested twice weekly at their own expense. People who receive medical or religious exemptions will be reimbursed for the cost of testing.

Moore told CBS MoneyWatch that the LAPD's goal of having a fully vaccinated workforce is to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone — the department's officers, civilian workforce and the public.

"I believe the mandates are lawful as they are currently defined," Moore told MoneyWatch.

The police chief said that more than 60% of the department's unvaccinated employees had been notified individually about the COVID-19 rules, and as of early Monday all but 4 had agreed to get vaccinated or request an exemption.

Moore added that the 4 employees, who had been sent home pending disciplinary hearings, faced being fired if they don't change their minds.

CBS News reported that nearly 8 in 10 LAPD employees were fully vaccinated, with 78% having received at least one dose.

"Requirements have a role — having a bottom line is helping us right now," Moore said.

A union representing LAPD officers requested a temporary restraining order against the mandate but it was denied by a judge Wednesday.

"I will not comply at all. The only thing mandatory for me right now is defiance," LAPD Officer Mike McMahon told CBSLA.

McMahon, a 14-year veteran of the police department, predicted the vaccine requirement would spark a mass exodus of fellow employees.

More than 3,000 of the LAPD's 12,300 employees have been infected with COVID-19. A total of 11 workers and 3 spouses have died.

"We have individuals in the hospital today, one in very serious condition, and about 85 at home recovering,” Moore said.

Villanueva, meanwhile, has defied other health orders during the pandemic. Last month he said he wouldn't have his deputies enforce a mandate requiring vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks at indoor public settings.

Villanueva's agency is the largest sheriff's department in the country, with about 10,000 sworn deputies and 5,800 civilian employees.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.