WASHINGTON — Military veterans will get a boost in finding jobs in policing, under a law signed Friday afternoon by President Donald Trump and backed by Texas Sen. John Cornyn.
Cornyn, the Republicans’ deputy leader in the Senate, worked with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota on the measure, along with Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio.
“We love our veterans. They’re serving overseas. They’re in harm’s way. … They’ve been protecting us. We’re going to be helping them right now,” Trump, flanked by police and other law enforcement, said as he signed the law.
The American Law Enforcement Heroes Act gives priority for federal grants to state and local law enforcement agencies that use the funds to hire veterans. The Fraternal Order of Police, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars all backed the idea of using the grants as incentive.
“This law will support our military veterans’ transition to civilian life and help the folks charged with protecting our communities,” Cornyn said in a prepared statement. “By prioritizing existing federal funding, our state and local law enforcement partners will get the highly trained individuals they need to keep our communities safe, while giving our veterans an opportunity to continue serving their country.”
Klobuchar also touted the benefits.
“When we ask our young men and women to fight in defense of our nation, we make a promise that we will take care of them when they return home,” she said. “This law will help our veterans secure good jobs and make our communities safer.”
Hurd’s sprawling district runs from Fort Bliss in El Paso to installations in San Antonio.
“This has a significant impact for my constituents,” he said.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among seven other original Senate backers from both parties. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Cruz next year, also backed the measure.
The Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services — or COPS — has provided $14 billion to more than 13,000 state and local law enforcement agencies since 1995, funding 129,000 officers.
According to the Justice Department, COPS has also provided training to more than 700,000 law enforcement personnel and community members on community policing topics — including crime control strategies, police ethics and integrity, terrorism prevention and preparedness, school safety, partnership building, problem-solving and crime analysis.
Trump’s 2018 budget request included $218 million for the program, up nearly 9 percent.
Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, lauded the legislation and praised Trump for showing commitment to police, such as when he lit the White House in blue.
“The first thing the president said today is how much he loves law enforcement,” Canterbury said after the signing ceremony.
By: Todd Gillman