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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Congresswoman Bass introduces veteran hiring initiative

July 3, 2014
Press Release

HEROES Act provides path to employment for veterans who continue service in law enforcement agencies.

WASHINGTON—To honor July 4th and America’s veterans, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif) announced today she has introduced the “Helping Employ and Recruit our Excellent Servicemembers (HEROES) Grant Act,” legislation that allows state and local law enforcement agencies to use existing Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Grants to hire veterans for non-sworn law enforcement positions.

Law enforcement agencies across the country have endured severe budget cuts, stretching sworn peace officers too thin.  At the same time, the unemployment rate for veterans remains high, despite their readiness and willingness to work. 

The HEROES Grant Act would help alleviate those problems by allowing law enforcement agencies to use COPS Grants to employ veterans for non-sworn law enforcement support positions.  Hiring veterans to fill such roles as crime investigator, 911 dispatcher, forensic technician, intelligence analyst, evidence manager or victim service advocate would allow agencies to focus sworn peace officers on needed community policing. 

“The HEROES Act is good for our law enforcement agencies, good for our communities, and good for our veterans,” said Rep. Bass. “We must do everything in our ability to make sure these brave men and women find work now that they have returned home. Many of them were doing these exact same jobs while serving in the military, but under much more stressful circumstances in war zones.” 

“Veterans have proven their bravery on fields where bravery matters,” said PORAC President Mike Durant.  “Simply, vets protect the freedoms we enjoy every day.  These men and women are more than qualified to be a part of our public safety family and we are proud to work side by side with them.  We thank Representative Bass for giving our veterans a chance to be successful upon returning home and we look forward to utilizing the strengths of our returning armed forces members to help us keep our streets safe.  Because if our families aren’t safe, nothing else matters.”

Facts about unemployment of America’s veterans

The unemployment rate for America’s veterans is higher than the national unemployment rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics  the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001--a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans—was 9.0 percent in 2013, compared to 6.7% nationally.

Facts about the COPS Program

In FY 2014 the COPS program gave preference to law enforcement agencies that committed to hiring or rehiring at least one military veteran under CHP.  To qualify, military veterans hired must have served on active duty for a period of at least 180 days, any part of which occurred on or after September 11, 2001, and were discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions.

Facts about PORAC

The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) was incorporated in 1953 as a professional federation of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.  Today, PORAC represents over 67,000 public safety members and over 910 associations, making it the largest law enforcement organization in California and the largest statewide association in the nation.    

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