Arizona sergeant warns plan to fire unvaccinated corrections officers could result in another Waukesha attack

One Arizona sergeant is sounding the alarm on a coronavirus vaccine requirement for all county employees who work with vulnerable populations, which includes corrections officers.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 2 voted to approve a coronavirus vaccine requirement for county employees who work with vulnerable populations, and the board considers corrections officers part of that group.

In a memorandum to the board of supervisors, Jan Lesher, the chief deputy county administrator for Pima County outlined that if there are still a substantial number of corrections officers who are unvaccinated by Jan. 1, the jail population may need to be reduced.

Mike Dominguez, president of the Sheriff’s Labor Association of Pima County, told Fox News that the board of supervisors is putting “gasoline on the fire” by passing the mandate.

ARIZONA COUNTY COULD ‘REDUCE’ JAIL POPULATION IF MORE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS DON’T GET VACCINATED

Pima County Sheriff’s Department Badge. (Credit: Pima County Sheriff’s Department)

“Our current staffing situation is terrible. I believe we’ve had the lowest numbers of officers currently in the last six, seven years. And as of right now, I believe we’re sitting at approximately 365 corrections officers available,” Dominguez said.

Currently, according to Board of Supervisors member Rex Scott, 187 correctional officers are unvaccinated. He views the approved vaccine requirement as a reasonable measure since it doesn’t apply to every county employee.

Dominguez said that the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has had “at least” 20 to 25 officers resign since the vaccine requirement was approved by the board of supervisors.

He said that if the vaccine requirement stays in place and unvaccinated corrections officers are terminated on Jan. 1, there will be public safety concerns because of the inmates that could be released. Dominguez said that the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the Pima County Sheriff have “self-inflicted a public safety crisis” upon the community.

“We still believe some of the people released will be a public safety danger. This is purely politics, not public safety at this point,” Dominguez said. “And if we have less officers at the facility, we’re going to let these inmates out to the public, to our local community, to work low income communities.”

Picture of the Pima County Adult Detention Center. (Credit: Pima County Sheriff's Department)

Picture of the Pima County Adult Detention Center. (Credit: Pima County Sheriff’s Department)
((Credit: Pima County Sheriff’s Department))

Scott told Fox News on Saturday that the number of correctional officers who are getting vaccinated is on the rise but said that if a reduction in the jail population has to be made, a number of non-violent individuals being held in jail could be released.

However, Dominguez says that “it will not shock” him if he hears in January that the county administration has released an inmate that causes harm to citizens.

“It will not shock me to hear that the County Administration and Sheriff have let an inmate out as a result of this mandate that causes harm to our community or innocent citizens of our community. I truly feel for our innocent community members who are concerned and who this will ultimately affect,” he said.

Picture of the Pima County Sheriff's Department. (Credit: Pima County Sheriff's Department)

Picture of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. (Credit: Pima County Sheriff’s Department)
((Credit: Pima County Sheriff’s Department))

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He says that county officials will say that they’re only releasing “non-violent” individuals and cited what happened in Waukesha as a lesson.

“Of course, they give the general political statement ‘nonviolent.’ But we saw what non-violent does in Kenosha. We saw what non-violent releases do across the country with this ‘woke’ system, it’s disgusting,” Dominguez said.

The sergeant also said that he’s estimating 500 to 700 inmates out of the 1,700 to 1,800 that are currently detained would have to be released from the county jails if the current number of unvaccinated corrections officers are terminated.

Beyond the danger to the public that Dominguez says the vaccine requirement poses, he also says that conditions within the jails will deteriorate as well, stating that there will be “potential inmate violence” and even “assaults on officers.”

Additionally, Dominguez says that the board of supervisors is forcing some officers to make a difficult and painful decision. 

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“Nobody should have to pick between putting Christmas presents under the tree for their kids or taking a jab with this vaccine if they don’t want to, because it’s unconstitutional. It strictly should be personal choice. This is purely politics, not public safety at this point,” Dominguez said. 

Chris Nanos, the sheriff of Pima County told Fox News that the county is prepared to handle the termination of correction officers.

“The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is well prepared to handle the dismissal of 158 correctional officers if the need arise. Such dismissal is viewed as addition by subtraction…No one is irreplaceable,” Nanos said.

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