Bakersfield · California

Kern Co. to L.A. Sheriff’s deputies after vax mandate vote: Come north.

With Los Angeles County revoking Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s authority to enforce the county’s vaccine mandate on its employees and opening the door to termination of potentially thousands of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department staff and deputies, it appears that there’s little rest in the hyper-competitive world of law enforcement recruitment.

Villanueva, who was attending the National Sheriff’s Association Conference in Washington, D.C. as Supervisors moved ahead on stripping his powers related to COVID vaccines, excoriated the panel for the move.

“Today the Board of Supervisors followed through on their threat and voted 4-0 (1 abstention) to form a suicide pact and start the process to fire 4,000 deputies for not being vaccinated,” he said in a statement.

Villanueva’s statement on the vote was headlined as occurring “during a time when murders have increased over 94% and there is a hiring freeze in the department.”

Los Angeles County’s potential loss, however, could be the San Joaquin Valley’s gain.

Look no further than Los Angeles’ next door neighbor, Kern County, which took the 4-0 vote by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors over Villanueva’s lax enforcement of vaccine mandates as an opportunity to appeal to deputies looking to make a career change.

In closed captioning, the recruitment video reads:

To our fellow officers in Los Angeles, we’ve seen the headlines.

Drive north, we have a place for you. Kern County is built on strong values and tradition. Kern County is a community that backs the blue.

From snowcapped mountains to desert canyons, not only is it affordable to live here… but its fun. So take back your freedom and apply TODAY to work at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. You deserve a job that welcomes you, and your values, with open arms.

Kern County has struggled in recent years to recruit deputies to staff, recruitment and staffing woes have grown so desperate that the County severed key contracts with various school districts for campus safety officer positions due to a lack of deputies to serve on general patrol.

Reid Stone is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.