The head of the civilian panel that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department on Tuesday called it “extremely dubious” that more than 2,600 LAPD personnel have legitimate medical or religious reasons to be exempted from the COVID-19 mandate for city employees, as they have claimed.
“I ask each officer who has yet to receive the vaccine to do so,” said Los Angeles Police Commission President William Briggs in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “You swore an oath to protect and serve. You need to uphold that oath.”
“I personally find it appalling that the personnel of a department charged with public safety would willfully, intentionally and brazenly endanger the lives of those who they have taken an oath to protect,” he said.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League’s board criticized Brigg’s comments, saying he owes an apology to those he has accused of lying about their need for exemptions.
“His blanket labeling of religious exemption applications as being ‘dubious’ when they have not even been submitted, let alone evaluated, will have a chilling effect on police officers exercising and expressing their long-held religious beliefs,” the board wrote in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles is requiring all county employees to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by early October.
Nearly 61 percent of the department has been fully vaccinated, according to LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
As of Monday, 3,124 LAPD department personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 11 LAPD officers have died from COVID-19 related issues, Moore said.