As the country honors the service and sacrifice of law enforcement during National Police Week, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would provide support to state and local law enforcement to hire military veterans.
The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act was introduced by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn from Texas and would provide grant funds to hire and train veterans. Cornyn applauded the passage of the bill on the Senate Floor Wednesday.
"For veterans, that can mean a rewarding job in law enforcement. Through their training, experience, and sacrifice, there's no doubt that our veterans are equipped with valuable skills to keep our community safe," Cornyn said.
KENS 5 talked to a Seguin officer who served in the Navy for five years. He said that he's always wanted to be in law enforcement and to serve in the military.
"My grandfather served in the navy in World War II and I knew that was something that was important to him. I knew it was something I wanted to do," said Sgt. Josh Kennington with the Seguin Police Department. "I knew where I wanted to go. But that is not the case for a lot of veterans.”
He said veterans struggle to find direction after serving in the military.
"If I was a sailor on a U.S. boat, how does that transition into a civilian job? It doesn't. A lot of veterans feel like they're getting dumped off," Sgt. Kennington said. "I know law enforcement, as a whole, generally supports veterans. We have a lot of veterans that work at our apartment. Anything that supports a veteran is good in my eyes."
The Seguin Police Department has 59 sworn officers and 10 of them served in the military in some capacity. The department has three job openings.
The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act was also introduced by Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hurd worked for the CIA for many years in conjunction with the military in the Middle East.
He sent KENS5 a statement about sponsoring the bill in the House:
“My district is home to more than 4,600 active duty and 45,000 military veterans, and this bill provides an opportunity for them to continue their service at home. We owe our freedom to these men and women, and must do a better job facilitating their transition into meaningful civilian careers. I am proud to give back to the veteran community and grateful for Senator Cornyn’s leadership getting the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act across the finish line. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”