A former cop who reportedly lost his job with the San Francisco Police Department for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine is speaking out and doubling down on his decision.
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Joel Aylworth, a third-generation cop who served for 14 years on police forces in San Francisco and Oakland, discussed his passion for the job, and his reasons for declining the jab.
“Police work is still one of the noblest professions out there if done correctly,” he said.
But Aylworth, 40, found himself in the crosshairs of COVID-19 mandates, leaving behind the career to which he devoted more than a decade.
When the pandemic hit, he was working at the academy and was promptly sent back onto the streets.
“I was working at the police academy, which is really a highly coveted job,” Aylworth said. “It’s a full-time position, so you’re no longer on patrol.”
With COVID policies cracking down on congregating, the academy was shut down. So, Aylworth found himself moving the homeless around in an effort to stop the pandemic from spreading among them.
“They asked me during the height of [COVID] to go down and deal with this problem we have and I did,” he said. “I worked another year and a half plus … throughout the pandemic without any experimental product to my body and I was doing just fine.”
Aylworth said he closely monitored the COVID-19 vaccine and worried about what might happen to people like him who did not plan to receive it.
Watch him share his story:
“As a Christian, I don’t believe in injecting biological substances into my blood,” he previously told Fox News.
Once the mandates went through, he said he initially had no problem getting an exemption — but this soon changed and he came into disfavor with the department.
“I actually had my religious exemption approved by the police human resources director,” Aylworth said. “He approved it within a day.”
He continued, “And I thought, ‘Great, this is awesome … I think I’m going to be safe’ … and within about a month, everything changed.”
According to Aylworth, the exemption was pulled for him and 150 others who had already been approved; suddenly, he said a secondary review was required despite authorization purportedly already having been granted a month beforehand.
“I was given a month to essentially get the [vaccine] or be fired,” he said.
Aylworth, undeterred by this ultimatum, left police work behind on March 10, 2022, and is now working as a health and life coach, using his skills to inspire others in a different way. He called the transition out of police work a “crazy, crazy time,” but said it’s been “transformational.”
The decision to stand by his convictions wasn’t easy, especially considering what was on the line.
“[I remember thinking], ‘I’m about to give up a $200,000-plus paying job and do what? So, I’m about to lose it all?'” he recalled. “I’m asking myself that question and then I’m asking and I’m praying and I’m thinking and I’m like, ‘Wow, what what’s gonna happen here?'”
But Aylworth said he quickly came to the realization that, though he might lose money or even his home, he knew he’d keep his family, his soul, and his health. In the end, he said the answer became clear.
Despite facing difficulties and persevering throughout, Aylworth had an interesting response when asked if he’d consider returning to the police force, pending leaders admitted fault and welcomed him back.
“The answer is: I don’t know, and I’ll wait for that day to come, because that day hasn’t come yet,” he said. “I’m really just trying to be in the present moment and be in the ‘now.'”
Aylworth continued, “Right now, I think I’m making a tremendous impact outside of police work and I think I was … called to even do something more than I knew what I was called to be and I’m just I’m living in that moment now right now.”
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