Roughly nine out of 10 members of the San Diego Police Officers Association who responded to a recent survey oppose COVID-19 vaccination mandates, the head of the SDPOA said Friday.
In addition, about 45% of them say they would rather be fired from the San Diego Police Department than comply with such requirements. About two-thirds of respondents said they would consider resigning from their jobs if the city follows through with a plan to require coronavirus inoculations beginning in November.
Those numbers, however, are based on responses from just 733 officers, or about 38% of all personnel represented by the union.
The questionnaire, though, drew hundreds more respondents than usual for one of the union’s surveys. That indicates that the topic is one of intense interest to the city’s law enforcement corps, SDPOA President Jack Schaeffer noted.
“So it’s obviously something that’s on their minds and that they have strong opinions about,” he told City News Service.
Schaeffer described the findings as “concerning for someone in my position,” since the SDPD long has struggled to recruit enough officers and substantially reduce employee attrition.
In negotiations with the city, the police union has taken a stand against mandatory COVID vaccinations. The SDPOA’s leaders “want options,” such as regular coronavirus testing, in lieu of obligatory inoculation, Schaeffer said.
A spokesman for the San Diego Police Department declined to comment on the results of the survey, which were released to the union’s membership at large on Wednesday.
Last month, SDPD officials disclosed that they were conducting an internal investigation into a rambling and frequently cryptic social media posting interspersed with biblical and QAnon references in which an officer spoke of a growing resistance movement among his colleagues.
He described a “coalition of cops who will stand up for our God-given freedoms and are willing to risk it all” by refusing any orders to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to wear protective masks.
“From this point forward we will never take the vaccine, be tested or wear another face diaper around our heads without our free will to make that choice,” the officer stated on an SDPOA forum.
The author of the post called the issue “the hill to die on, because I promise you if `WE THE PEOPLE’ lose this fight there won’t be another hill to fight on.”
The lawman, who identified himself as a 16-year member of the SDPD, opined that like-minded members of the department “have to be willing to get fired from this job to secure (their) rights and stand by (their) convictions.”
“Our coalition is growing by the day and if the department and city are willing to fire 100-500 cops then so be it,” the officer wrote.
His name has not been publicly released by the SDPD.
The post ended with an acronym, WWG1WGA, which is generally understood as standing for “Where We Go One, We Go All.” The slogan often is used in communications by adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
In a letter to Mayor Todd Gloria, NAACP San Diego President Francine Maxwell said she and her membership were “gravely concerned” about the officer’s statements.
– City News Service