BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Debates on COVID-19 vaccine mandates within law enforcement departments continue.
Near Kern, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has declined to enforce the county’s mandate among his department, and now county officials are taking action.
This week, the Board of Supervisors approved a proposal that gives county officers the power to override the sheriff's decisions and discipline employees who fail to comply.
This could lead to the firing of 4,000 unvaccinated deputies in L.A. County.
KCSO does not enforce a vaccine mandate, and with the struggles law enforcement agencies are facing, the department is taking advantage of the thousands of officers who might soon be unemployed.
Recognizing the L.A. County mandate debate and highlighting what Kern County has to offer, KCSO and the county are using social media to find the officers they are in desperate need for.
“There are vacancies, and there are too many vacancies.”
Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said the department isn't just recruiting in California, they’re looking to hire officers from around the country.
“We are not placing employment status on vaccinations. We never have and Los Angeles is and that is what it is, and this is an effort to really leave nothing at the table in our recruiting efforts.”
The county is even offering a signing bonus: “We implemented that a few years ago. The Board of Supervisors provided a sum one time money to do that, and we’ve set it at $25,000 and we hope that it proceeds results. That is one of the reasons why we really shouted that out when we did put that tweet out.”
Alsop said it’s not all about mandate but emphasizes that there is an option for those who want to make a change.
“We really wanted to let them know there’s a place for them here. We value law enforcement; we value them and we’re hiring. “
Alsop says the department’s overall goal is to keep the community safe by putting more officers on the ground.
23ABC did reach out to BPD and CHP about their staffing concerns. We did not hear back from BPD by our airtime, but CHP said they are also in need of officers.