For Many Vets, Military Career First Step in Service to US, Followed by Serving in Law Enforcement

As Americans, Veterans Day allows us to reflect upon the gratitude we feel for the men and women who have taken it upon themselves, through their service, to protect the freedoms we enjoy here at home.

To those special individuals we call veterans, patriotism and service to country embody more than mere rhetoric; they encompass a commitment to American values that transcends individual considerations and places one’s country before self.

For many, their service to country doesn’t end with the conclusion of their military careers. An increasing number of veterans are entering civilian life and joining the ranks of those defending their communities and upholding the rule of law at home: American law enforcement.

In fact, the number of military veterans entering the field of civilian law enforcement is higher today than at any time in the past several decades.

Hire Heroes USA, a Georgia-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping veterans find employment in the civilian workforce, estimates that roughly 20 percent of returning veterans are seeking employment within state and local police agencies.

The draw toward a post-military career in law enforcement comes natural for many veterans. The characteristics and personal qualities developed during military service often complement the grind of a career in police work.

Both the military and law enforcement operate within a system predicated upon adherence to the chain of command. Understanding the importance of defined roles, responsibilities, and accountability (virtues all cultivated through military service) allows many veterans to transition into effective careers in law enforcement.

Glenn French, a retired sergeant with the Sterling Heights, Md., police department, outlined four additional qualities (teamwork, communication skills, maturity, and an ability to handle stress) that make many of our nation’s veterans excellent candidates for careers in police work.

“What I can assure you is that all things being equal, military veterans may be great law enforcement candidates for their ability to function as part of a team, communicate, police with maturity and perform under stress,” wrote French.

He added, “The military veteran’s commitment to excellence was a daily ritual.”

In addition to the many natural and complementary characteristics that define the two professions, many veterans simply feel the patriotic need to continue serving their country, despite the inherent risks.

In just the past two weeks, two of our nation’s veterans were killed in the line of duty while serving their communities in their post-military careers as police officers.

Albuquerque, N.M., police officer Daniel Webster, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, was shot and killed on a car stop.

Columbia, S.C., police officer Stacy Case, after having spent 15 years as MP in the U.S. Army, was killed in a vehicle accident while responding to a call for service.

Tina Latendresse, a police officer in San Jose, California, and a twenty-five year veteran of the United States Navy, offered her personal opinion on why she has chosen, both within and outside the military, a life of service.

“I’m a die-hard patriot. I believe my service to my country didn’t end with my active duty service. It’s in my blood to serve, and that continues in my service to my community.”

Today we thank all of our nation’s veterans for their personal sacrifice and unwavering commitment to the exceptional ideals of the United States of America.

by Scott G. Erickson, President - Americans in Support of Law Enforcement

This article originally appeared at The Daily Signal

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