SPOKANE — The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is looking to hire deputies, and its recruitment strategy includes telling potential applicants that they do not need a COVID-19 vaccine to work.

“NO Mandatory Vaccinations Required” is displayed in the middle and end of the 30-second video advertisement on Twitter at twitter.com/SpokaneSheriff.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said those parts of the ad are not intended to attract unvaccinated law enforcement officers, such as the 74 Washington State Patrol troopers out of a job because of their failure to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 mandate.

State employees had until the end of the day Monday to submit their COVID-19 vaccination record or lose their jobs.

“Spokane County doesn’t have a vaccine mandate,” Knezovich said. “We don’t fall under any vaccine mandates. Therefore, we’re letting people know that we don’t have that, and there are a lot of agencies that are about to lose a lot of police officers because they are mandating a vaccine that some people are very, very opposed to taking.”

The ad on Twitter includes hashtags for “WSP” for Washington State Patrol, “Washington,” “Seattle” and “Portland.”

The Seattle Police Department could lose dozens of officers. Seattle announced its own vaccine mandate in August that aligns with Inslee’s.

Knezovich said his sheriff’s office is receiving great interest from San Diego Police Department officers, many of whom are expected to lose their jobs because of their failure to comply with a vaccine mandate.

Knezovich said he is vaccinated and recommends others get the COVID-19 shot to protect themselves and loved ones, but he called vaccine mandates “counterproductive.” He said people should be able to make their own decision on whether they get vaccinated.

He said he is looking to hire 20 deputies — 10 who are needed immediately and another 10 deputies who would replace 10 who are retiring by next year.

Knezovich said he has already lost several deputies because of Washington’s new police reform bills.

“They did nothing but hurt the public safety of this entire state,” Knezovich said of the reforms.

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