“Shocked and disappointed.” That was the response local law enforcement had to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voting down my proposal to immediately vaccinate law enforcement personnel. Only Supervisor Jim Desmond joined me in voting to protect cops against COVID-19.
Current County criteria calls for emergency responders who perform CPR to be placed in the top tier for COVID-19 vaccinations. This includes EMTs, firefighters and lifeguards. But not law enforcement officers.
County officials insist they are following the direction of the State of California, but the Governor and state officials have made it very clear that local Counties have full discretion where to tier individual groups. In fact, 27 other counties already vaccinate law enforcement officers.
About 10,000 lives are saved every year because of the emergency responsiveness of law enforcement officers who routinely respond to individuals requiring medical attention and CPR measures. These officers are exposed to people that have contracted COVID-19 and, without vaccination, not only are our cops at risk, but so are their medical counterparts, their coworkers, and their families.
It is important to know that there are about 4,000 front-line local law enforcement officers who would be prioritized for immediate vaccination. This includes those who patrol our streets and neighborhoods. Those opposed to allowing cops to be vaccinated now say it will put others more vulnerable, such as the elderly, at risk. And while admittedly there is a shortage of vaccine, the County of San Diego has the capacity to vaccinate 25,000 people a day and has already vaccinated about 500,000 people. By prioritizing police, we would at most delay some others receiving vaccinations by only a few days.
But when law enforcement officers are infected with COVID-19 they are taken out of circulation to serve. That means less cops to respond to calls, less cops to make arrests and less cops to keep us safe.
While true that if a cop is struck down with COVID-19, like firefighters and other young healthy people, they are less likely to die. But it is more likely others will die or be hurt because those law enforcement officials will not be there when you make the call that someone is breaking into your home.
I am hearing from people all over my district, and throughout San Diego County, who believe our cops should be treated like other emergency first responders and given priority for vaccinations.
In a poll I conducted on my website, more than 1200 individuals responded with 98% supporting this action. Join me in showing your support for our cops receiving the vaccination now. Please visit my website at www.supervisorjoelanderson. com and make your voice heard.
Anderson represents District 2 on the County Board of Supervisors.