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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Tuesday that he will not comply with a covid vaccine mandate that requires deputies to get jabbed or lose their jobs.

He expressed concerns that the mandate could spark a mass exodus in the department, warning that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is already facing severe staffing challenges.

 Breitbart reports:The sheriff stated that he witnessed a roughly 20 percent increase in retirements.

“It’s actually disrupting our ability to provide public safety services to Los Angeles County,” he said during a press conference, according to ABC7.

Villanueva noted that 51.7 percent of the department — approximately 16,000 employees — are vaccinated, while 42.8 percent of sworn staff members have received the jab.

All county employees — including sheriff’s deputies — must register their vaccination status by October 1, according to a Board of Supervisors executive order.

Villanueva, who faces a reelection challenge next year, has defied other health orders during the pandemic. Last month, he said he wouldn’t have his deputies enforce a mandate requiring vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in indoor public settings.