Call to hire more veterans as community police has bipartisan support

Courtesy U.S. Government Works

An amendment to a 1968 crime control bill would encourage some federally-funded police departments to hire veterans.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas introduced last week the bipartisan amendment to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. It would allow certain federal grantees to use those funds to hire and train veterans. It was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary which will consider it before sending it to the Senate floor for consideration. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is a member of the committee with Cornyn.

In a statement released immediately after the introduction, Cornyn said military service members have valuable skills that are well-suited for police work.

“Encouraging state and local governments to hire veterans will both bolster the strength of our law enforcement, and help our heroes transition from military service into civilian life,” he said.

This legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. A companion bill was filed in the House of Representatives.

Specifically, the amendment bolsters the use of community oriented policing grants, known in law enforcement offices as COPS grants. The funding promotes the advancement of non-confrontational police practices. It is a component of the Department of Justice. The grants allow for the hiring of community-based officers, training and testing of new community policing initiatives and technical assistance. According to its website, the DOJ has spent more than $14 billion in community policing since the initiative began in 1994.

The Fraternal Order of the Police support the measure as a means to make ease the transition from armed forces duty to police positions. The organization represents 330,000 law officers across the nation. Chuck Canterbury, the national president, wrote in a letter to Cornyn that military service members are many times active with law enforcement already.

“They will become welcome additions to law-enforcement professions should they choose to continue serving as protectors of our families and communities,” he wrote the day after Cornyn introduced the amendment.




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