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Combat Veterans & Law Enforcement: A Transition Guide for Veterans Beginning or Continuing Careers in Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
36 pages
This guidebook contains tips, checklists, and resources that assist law enforcement officers returning from military combat deployments, along with suggestions for veterans seeking a career in law enforcement.
The guidebook first lists the leadership traits cultivated in the U.S. military that will facilitate the transition into domestic law enforcement work. This is followed by a listing of differences in military and law enforcement tactics that pertain to use-of-force techniques, distinguishing between "no-knock" and warrant searches, adjustments in the transition from driving in military convoys to patrolling domestic streets, and guarding against indifference and lack of empathy toward minor citizen complaints. The guidebook then turns to practical advice for veterans already in a law enforcement career. It focuses first on predeployment actions an officer should take prior to receiving military orders. This section highlights professional and personal preparations an officer should make, including information on employment, legal, financial, housing, vehicle, and family issues. This is followed by actions that should be taken during deployment that will facilitate a smooth transition upon returning to domestic law enforcement. Advice pertains to how to keep in touch with family members and employers, receiving departmental newsletters/bulletins, reviewing changes in departmental policies and procedures, staying mentally and physically fit, and benefiting from military in-service training and promotions during deployment. Postdeployment guidance focuses on the handling of personal matters prior to returning to law enforcement work, addressing the effects of combat conditions and operations on domestic law enforcement performance, and a chronology of actions to take in assuming law enforcement duties. A separate section addresses issues of physical and mental health that must be managed in order to ensure effective law enforcement performance. The concluding part of the guidebook is for military veterans considering a law enforcement career. A list of resources is included.