With key details of the Biden administration’s recently-announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates yet to emerge, a growing number of law enforcement officers and other first responders around the country are making it clear that they have no intention of submitting to requirements they view as intrusive and unconstitutional.
Indicative of the escalating pushback among those charged with serving and protecting communities across the country are the sentiments recently expressed by Benton County, Arkansas Sheriff Shawn Holloway, who has declared that he will not force any employee of his office to receive coronavirus vaccinations, as local Fox affiliate station KNWA reported.
Holloway’s statement followed Biden’s announcement that employers with 100 or more workers would be required to mandate vaccination or conduct weekly testing, a scenario which prompted the sheriff to opine, “The issue with these forced mandates, they’re clear violations of our constitutional rights.”
The sheriff continued, saying, “I do not have an issue with someone getting a vaccine or choosing not to get a vaccine. I feel this is an individual’s choice and constitutional right to decide. I will not be forcing any employees of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office to be vaccinated.”
According to KTLA in Los Angeles, Sheriff Holloway is far from the only law enforcement official refusing to abide by the president’s vaccine mandate, with Riverside County, California Sheriff Chat Bianco also declining to enforce such requirements among the workforce he oversees.
In a statement issued earlier this month, Bianco characterized himself as “the last line of defense from tyrannical government overreach” and explained that “the government has no ability and no authority to mandate your health choices.”
Chad Sheehan, sheriff in Woodbury County, Iowa echoed the sentiments expressed by many of his colleagues and added his office to the list of those in which vaccine mandates will not be enforced, as the Sioux City Journal noted, stating his belief that he was elected to safeguard “the freedoms and liberties guaranteed in the constitution of the United States.”
Sheriff Casey A. Graham of Bollinger County, Missouri described Biden’s vaccine mandate an “unbelievable tyrannical executive action” and an “unconstitutional government overreach” that he has no intention of enforcing, as the Miami Herald reported.
With police and firefighter unions from locales including Richmond, Virginia and Chicago, Illinois continuing to mount protests and resistance and individual officers in large numbers contemplating resignation over forced vaccination, it remains to be seen whether Biden’s authoritarian edicts – and those enacted by state and local authorities – will ultimately take full effect or if a cascade of unintended consequences force their repeal.