ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Sheriff John Mina is taking his message of encouraging vaccines for law enforcement to the national stage.
During an interview that aired Tuesday on “CBS This Morning,” Mina spoke about the loss of Deputy Craig Seijos earlier this month to COVID-19.
”He was known as Mr. Dependable. Always asking if anyone needed a hand,” Mina said. “Talking to his family and talking to his fellow deputies was hard and you could just see the pain and the hurt in their face.”
The emotion from the passing prompted Mina to encourage his employees to get vaccinated through a video that was posted to social media.
”Do it so your fellow deputies and officers can honor you at your retirement instead of commemorating you at your funeral,” Mina said in the video.
According to the Fraternal Order of Police, nearly 600 officers in the United States have died from COVID-19.
With law enforcement potentially coming in contact with the virus on a daily basis, Mina implemented an incentive policy that gives three days of extra vacation to employees who have been vaccinated.
In a survey on Aug. 6, 55% of OCSO employees said they had gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. The sheriff has said he’s looking at other incentives, but said he doesn’t plan to make the vaccine mandatory.
”Honestly, with the passing of Craig, I think we have seen an uptick here and I think the folks that worked with him every day look at that and think ‘Oh my gosh, maybe this could have been prevented,’” Mina said.
Last week, Mina said he was worried a vaccine mandate would lead to deputies seeking employment at another law enforcement agency that doesn’t require a COVID-19 vaccination. Instead, the sheriff said he would work with local doctors to dispel myths and talk about the importance of getting the shot.