Currently, about 30 percent of the sheriff's deputies are not vaccinated.By Andy Sheehan

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen has ordered his deputies and other staff members to be vaccinated by Dec. 1 or face termination.

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Sheriff Mullen confirmed the order in a phone call Wednesday with KDKA investigator Andy Sheehan.

“More than 500 police officers across the country have died of COVID, and I don’t want to see anyone die,” Sheriff Mullen said.

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Mullen noted his deputies are at particular risk because they often transport sick inmates to and from the hospital. Currently, about 30 percent of the sheriff’s deputies are not vaccinated.

In issuing this order, Mullen joins Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald — who has said all county employees who cannot show proof of vaccination by December risk losing their jobs.

The Sheriff’s Office, the Treasurer’s Office, and other so-called row offices headed by elected officials have followed suit.

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Ryan Foster, the president of the Allegheny County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, provided this statement to KDKA:

“Sheriff Mullen is doing what he believes is right, in order to keep people safe. I believe in freedom; the freedom to choose what is going into our bodies. I am willing to submit to testing or mask mandates, but when breakthrough COVID cases are becoming much more commonplace, as well as complications due to vaccination, I do not feel that forced vaccination is a reasonable recourse. We will fight long and hard to keep everyone safe, but also free.”