Police union leader worried for SDPD as vaccine mandate deadline nears

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SAN DIEGO — The vaccine deadline for San Diego police officers is fast approaching, and it very well may cause employment issues for those who don’t get their COVID shot.

“I believe we will lose a significant amount of people,” said Jack Schaeffer, the president of the San Diego Police Union. “I don’t know what that number will look like when all is said and done.”

With just two days to get a vaccine for San Diego police officers or face some sort of disruption in their employment, the city hasn’t shifted its stance on getting all employees vaccinated before the Dec. 1 deadline.

Shaeffer says he’s worried about what happens when the vaccine mandate deadline is up and some of the officers don’t comply. He adds the numbers of officers pushing back makes him worried for the department.

“I just have the feeling that it’s going to be significant,” Shaeffer said. “There are people that are very passionate, very determined in this situation, and if they can’t reasonably accommodate them, we are definitely going to have a staffing shortage.”

Protesters against the vaccine have been demonstrating at city hall, demanding a shift in the vaccine mandate policy, but no significant concessions have been made by city officials. 

According to Shaeffer, 40 of his rank-and-file officers have applied to other police departments and dozens of others have said they are not going to not comply, even if their requests for religious exemptions fail. Shaeffer says after the city pushed back their deadline once from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1, the city is not giving in on anything else. 

“They haven’t been willing to really show any flexibility,” he said. “They are going with a really hard mandate.”

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