An additional San Marino police officer has received the COVID-19 vaccine, dropping to six the number of officers who have requested an accommodation in an effort to avoid the immunization.
Last month, the San Marino City Council voted 4-1 to approve Resolution R-22-18, which implements a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees represented by the San Marino Police Officers Association.
All officers are still employed by the SMPD while the six officers go through the accommodation process. Immediately following the council’s passage of the mandate, seven officers had said they would seek an accommodation.
“This means that we have only six POA members who have requested a medical and/or religious accommodation,” said San Marino City Manager Marcella Marlowe. “That interactive process is underway and will likely conclude at some point in June. We continue to remain hopeful that we’ll retain all of our officers.”
“I know there are a number of officers who have filed for an accommodation,” said San Marino Police Chief John Incontro. “If we lose the six, we will be in a hardship for adequate staffing. The actual number may be less than six.”
In the event San Marino has to bolster its staff, Incontro has presented a plan which includes a possible association with two security firms who have done extensive work for the city of Beverly Hills. The companies — Covered Six and Nastec — have provided supplemental patrol forces for “observe-and-report” policing.
Incontro said that both companies are partially staffed by retired police officers or military police and that the officers would work in areas such as Mission Street and the San Marino schools.
He said that the officers would help out with traffic control, searches and impounds and the transportation of suspects. The contracted officers would not participate in traffic stops.
Incontro said the security officers, if retained, would reduce the time police officers would be tied up with normal operations. The officers would not pursue or engage suspects.
“I have confidence in either company,” Incontro said. He also said that Covered Six has Mandarin-speaking officers who the firm said they will try to deploy in San Marino if they are retained. He said that all officers from Covered Six and Nastec would be fully vaccinated, would bring their own vehicles and be fully insured.
Incontro said the possible use of a security firm would coincide with a “very intensive recruitment and hiring process” by the SMPD.
“I’m hoping our officers will stay,” Incontro said of the six SMPD officers currently seeking accommodation to avoid the vaccine mandate.