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Corrections department to face shortages if workers aren't vaccinated by Dec. 31 deadline

436 sheriff's department employees are not vaccinated
PCSD driver training changes
Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 13, 2021

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN) — Recent vaccination numbers of Pima County employees show the sheriff's department with only 67% of employees vaccinated.

With Pima County is moving forward with its vaccine mandate, there is expected to be major shortages in the corrections department, if more members of the department are not vaccinated by the December 31 deadline.

All unvaccinated county employees working with vulnerable populations have until the deadline to get their vaccines. Otherwise, they will be terminated.

RELATED: Vaccine mandate could terminate more than half of Pima County's corrections officers

Right now, 436 sheriff's department employees are not vaccinated.

Monday, Sheriff Chris Nanos sent a letter to the corrections department, saying the decision to force vaccinations is out of his hands and urges those who have not been vaccinated to do so.

Read the full letter below:

I am compelled to write to you to ensure you understand more clearly my position on the Board of Supervisor’s (BOS) decision for a vaccine mandate for those working with vulnerable populations. As you know, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department’s critical mission is to ensure public safety. I took an oath to do just that. Each of you did as well. You do however, have a choice and your right to decide to vaccinate or not rests with you. But with every decision come consequences and the BOS has decided, by taking very careful consideration, of those consequences. Furthermore, the Board of Supervisors has an obligation to this community and by their decision, they are ensuring the public is safe.

What saddens me is the realization that the very people you trust to give you direction on what action you should take, are misleading you. Consider this fact, this same trusted group petitioned the BOS for pay raises, yet they asked for raises for only themselves in their capacity as supervisors. They did not ask for compensation for line staff…for you. Many of these same individuals have already become vaccinated and more will. They then leave you to the consequence of a poor decision. In a cruel twist, they will retain their jobs at your expense. The die is cast and if you choose not to be vaccinated – or if you cannot get an accommodation, your employment will be terminated. This employer does not bluff by serving each of you with a formal notice of intent to terminate. Please take heed.

You are being told that I will release hundreds of inmates to wreak havoc on the citizens of Pima County. It’s a legal fact; I cannot…nor would I…nor could the BOS release inmates from the PCADC. Only the courts have that authority. Although it may be true that if dozens of you leave, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department will make operational changes. Contingency plans have been established and these plans are sustainable to ensure the jail population and all its employees will remain safe. Many of your trusted advocates with their politicized agenda will abandon you in the end, but this jail will remain operationally solvent and safe

The consequences have been laid out. The line in the sand has been drawn and the clock is ticking. I implore you to do the right thing. Do what is right for your families, your loved ones and the preservation of your lifestyle. More importantly, do what is right for yourself and get vaccinated.

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