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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 233-95
May 02, 1995

DEFENSE AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENTS ANNOUNCE "TROOPS TO COPS" CONVERSION PROGRAM

Recently separated and soon to be separated veterans will be able to join the ranks of local peacekeepers through a new police training grant program announced today by the Departments of Defense and Justice.

The program, "Troops to Cops," will provide up to $5,000 in training to eligible policing agencies for each veteran hired this year. The Department of Defense has made $15 million available to the Community Oriented Policing Services Program (COPS) to assist with conversion efforts and help expedite President Clinton's mandate to put 100,000 peace officers on the street.

In a ceremony today in the Arna Valley area of northern Virginia, the program was announced by Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy) Fred Pang, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Personnel Support, Families and Education) Carolyn Becraft and COPS Director Joe Brann of the Department of Justice. These officials were joined by two local community police officers, Viet Nguyen and Issac Ruiz, who are veterans.

"Entering the law enforcement profession after military service enables separating men and women to continue serving their country by utilizing the skills and experiences that they acquired while in the Armed Forces. They leave the military with the self-discipline, physical fitness and ability to think on their feet necessary to be outstanding police officers," said Assistant Secretary Pang.

According to COPS Director Brann, "The Troops to Cops program offers policing agencies an experienced and dedicated talent pool of men and women who want to continue serving their country as peace officers, and it helps us reach President Clinton's goal of putting 100,000 cops on the street."

The Troops to Cops program was introduced as part of the l993 Defense Authorization Act and included in last year's crime bill. The appropriation was included as part of the FY 1995 DoD budget.

Eligible veterans must have been a member of the Armed Forces on or after October 1, 1993, and must have been honorably discharged. Veterans can contact their local transition office to find out about police vacancies.

More than 7,700 law enforcement agencies across the country who have been selected to receive COPS hiring grants will be eligible for funding. Grants may be used to pay for academy, supplemental, or in-service training costs for veterans hired after January 1, 1995. As with all COPS-funded programs, officers hired must receive training in community policing. Police departments can call 1-800-727-3677 to inquire about eligible veterans.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will administer the program. COPS was one of the results of the Violent Crime Control Act of l994 and was created in October l994 by U. S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

Summing up the military participation in this program, Deputy Assistant Secretary Becraft said, "Military veterans are valuable assets to any potential employer. However, law enforcement is an extension of a lifestyle they know and understand. These young men and women leave the military with the confidence that they can get the job done regardless of the challenges presented."