LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Deputy Chief Kelly McMahill is responsible for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's employee wellness.

She sat down with FOX5 just a few days after Sgt. Doug King died of COVID-19. McMahill couldn't say if King or others who have died since the vaccine was rolled out were themselves vaccinated due to privacy issues.

McMahill said she and Sheriff Joe Lombardo are not satisfied with the department’s 53% vaccination rate, although it is slightly higher than the county, state and national rates.

Even with their push to get more employees vaccinated, Lombardo said he will only mandate vaccinations for new employees. McMahill said Lombardo believes current workers have the right to chose but there are also collective bargaining agreements that prohibit any decisions on officers' safety without union input.

Deputy Chief Kelly McMahill

Deputy Chief Kelly McMahill

Employee resistance mirrors what you might see among members of the general public. Many of those who are resistant to the vaccine feel they are healthy enough to fight it off.

She added that when Sgt. Tom “TJ” Jenkins opened up about his battle with COVID-19, the department saw an uptick in employee vaccinations.

In the coming weeks, she said she hopes video appeals by valley doctors will encourage more to get their vaccination.

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