TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Some law enforcement officers have been hesitant to get vaccinated. But now, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is taking a firm stance to push his deputies to get the shot.

“Trying to do everything we can without mandating the vaccine, doing everything we can to encourage people to get vaccinated,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.

Eight On Your Side spoke exclusively with Sheriff Chronister about the COVID-19 pandemic and the pressing topic of people getting the vaccine. 

“Stop listening to the politicians. Start listening to the medical professionals and the scientists and get vaccinated,” Chronister said. “If you don’t want to do it for yourself do it for your coworkers, do it for your family and do it to stay alive.”

The most recent data from the Florida Department of Health shows for the week of Aug. 20 through August 26 there were more than 151,000 new COVID-19 cases in our state. That week’s covid deaths were recorded at 1,727 which is up from the previous week’s report of 1,486. 

In the Tampa Bay area, multiple police departments and sheriff’s offices have lost law enforcement members because of COVID-19. Something that Sheriff Chronister is very aware of.

“I put out a policy a while ago that if you are unvaccinated and you have to quarantine or you get ill you have to use your own accrued time.  If you are vaccinated and you get sick the sheriff’s office will cover your time off,” said Chronister.