President Trump has positioned himself as a friend to the military and a president who will make sure veterans are treated with respect and dignity. In spite of his professed support, the president has faced backlash for his proposed budget cuts and allegations by Democrats of insults to veterans – claims largely disproven by Snopes. Despite all complaints by his detractors, Donald Trump showed his dedication to the men and women who have served on Friday, June 2 by signing the bill S.538 – “American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017” – into law.
The new legislation amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act of 1968, which initially authorized the Attorney General to provide community safety and policing grants. Subsection (a) of the Act explains:
The Attorney General shall carry out a single grant program under which the Attorney General makes grants to States, units of local government, Indian tribal governments, other public and private entities, and multi-jurisdictional or regional consortia for the purposes described in subsection (b).
The bill President Trump signed Friday changes purpose (2) from subsection (b) so that it prioritizes the hiring of military veterans. Purpose (2) previously read:
(2) to hire and train new, additional career law enforcement officers for deployment in community-oriented policing across the Nation (as defined in section 101 of title 38);
The updated Act now includes the text “including by prioritizing the hiring and training of veterans” after the word Nation. This is a small change, and it doesn’t explicitly require police departments to hire veterans over non-veterans. For this, it will almost certainly draw fire from leftist news sources – assuming it receives any attention at all – though to be fair, every Trump action is either derided or ignored by the progressive left at large.
Any such complainers would be correct. This new act is not an enforceable law like affirmative action. It isn’t supposed to be a draconian rule. It’s a step in the right direction toward solving the problem of veteran care – or rather, the lack thereof. Symbolic as it may seem, this act will still very likely result in the hiring of many veterans. More importantly, it’s part of a larger move to reform the way America treats veterans. Just as Trump’s 10 point plan addressed the shortcomings of veteran medical care, this act addresses the veteran unemployment rate – which was 4.3% in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The hiring of veterans as police officers makes good sense, even outside of addressing veteran joblessness. Law enforcement and military careers require many of the same skills and character traits, making law enforcement a logical new career for former soldiers.
If Donald Trump’s signing of this act inspires even a single police department to seek out unemployed veterans, it will have been worth the small change in the law it enacted. While the bill is brief, it could make all the difference to out of work veterans.
And that’s more than a kept campaign promise. It’s just the right thing to do.