More than 2,000 Los Angeles Police Department employees have indicated they may request exemptions from the City’s new vaccine mandate, claiming their religious beliefs would prevent them from receiving any of the COVID-19 shots, according to multiple senior officials familiar with the City’s effort to vaccinate its workforce.
Approximately 2,300 LAPD employees, which include both officers and support staff, had made the preliminary request on a City website by the end of last week.
The officials said they expected that number to change late Monday because the deadline for employees to file vaccination proof, or request one of the exemptions, was extended to the close of business Sept. 13.
According to the early data, about 300 additional LAPD employees said they may request medical exemptions from the mandate, and when combined, the exemption indications represent about 20 percent of the LAPD’s staff, more than at any other City department, where exemption requests were filed by approximately 2 or 3 percent of the workforce, the officials told the I-Team.
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Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office has not publicly shared the number of City employees who have provided proof of vaccination status or the number who have requested one of the exemptions.
Garcetti’s office declined to discuss the numbers, but a spokesperson said the City was expected to release a more complete data set shortly after the extended deadline passed.
The LAPD said its latest vaccination data from Sept. 3 showed 47% of employees had been fully vaccinated, but said in a statement last week that it expected that number to increase after employees who received vaccines independent of City clinics reported their status to the.
Over the weekend six officers filed a federal lawsuit against the City to try to stop the vaccine mandate from taking effect, and one allegation in the case claimed an LAPD Captain told officers at a recent roll call meeting that the City was prepared to fire thousands of unvaccinated officers.
"A Captain, acting as the Chief's Duty Officer at the time, appeared at a roll call and advised the employees present that the 'City is willing to let go of the roughly 3,000 officers not vaccinated,' said the lawsuit, which argued that officers who had recovered from COVID-19 should not be forced to be vaccinated.
The LAPD has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The union that represents most LAPD officers, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, last week declined to address the vaccine mandate or potential enforcement efforts, citing ongoing labor negotiations with the City.