KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) —Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler says he will not enforce an impending mandate from President Joe Biden that all U.S. businesses with 100 or more workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing, claiming the rule is unconstitutional and puts citizens at risk.
In a letter addressed to President Biden on Monday, Spangler said people are leaving the law enforcement profession in record numbers and enforcing the mandate could result in the loss of a majority of his workforce. “If I were to enforce this mandate; it is likely we could lose a large majority of our workforce, putting the lives of our citizens in immediate danger,” he wrote.
Echoing a sentiment expressed by Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Spangler claims the requirement would make the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the area less attractive to prospective employees.
“Our deputies, corrections officers, and support staff are overworked and underpaid. Therefore, retention remains challenging. This mandate would also make the Knox County Sheriff’s Office less attractive for those seeking a career in law enforcement.”Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler
The Biden administration announced on Sept. 9 that all employers with 100+ employees must either mandate vaccines or test weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The full enforcement deadline, which could carry penalties of about $14,000 per violation, may not take effect until after the new year. The White House did not immediately say when it would take effect, but said workers would have sufficient time to get vaccinated.
Last month, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs sent his own letter to President Biden expressing opposition to the forthcoming rule.