SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Right now, county police officers and San Diego Sheriff’s deputies are not among the group of those San Diego County is vaccinating for the coronavirus and Supervisor Joel Anderson wants to change that.
In a letter written to the Board of Supervisors, Anderson pointed out that law enforcement officers are routinely responding to emergency situations where individuals often require medical attention and CPR.
Tuesday, the agenda item to support the letter failed 3-2, with Supervisors Anderson and Jim Desmond the only two to vote in favor of moving officers up in priority.
Currently, California allows those in Phase 1A (healthcare workers; congregate facility residents and workers) and the first tier of Phase 1B (people 65 and older; workers in education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
San Diego County has said it is still focusing on vaccinating healthcare workers and those 65 and older due to supply shortages of vaccines.
"I was shocked and disappointed to know that law enforcement wasn't in the first tier we have firefighters and lifeguards. I was told they give CPR so they get priority," Anderson says. "It didn't make sense to me that they were being treated as lesser first responders when they're all first responders."
Anderson's letter asks the board to support his motion to request that county health officials begin to allow law enforcement officers to get vaccinated. This would include more than 4,000 police officers and deputies.
The request comes as various groups across the state are pushing to get vaccinated from airport workers to grocery store employees and teachers.
Supervisor Anderson says while he agrees teachers should get vaccinated, he believes the priority right now should be on first responders because of their risk of exposure while on the job.
"Law Enforcement Officers serve high-risk populations daily in our jail system and on-call in our communities," Anderson's letter states. He goes on to say, "without vaccinations they are putting their medical counterparts, their co-workers, their families, and themselves at risk."
"While I think teachers are very important, when I call because someone's breaking into my house, I don't want a teacher showing up. I want law enforcement," Anderson said.