• Recruiting veterans: Transitioning from the battleground to policing your neighborhood

    By: Daralene Jones

    Updated:

    Local law enforcement agencies are struggling to find new recruits and some are targeting military veterans to fill in the gaps.

    Investigative Reporter Daralene Jones found even the top police chiefs association has raised concerns about the risks of hiring people who aren't typically trained to de-escalate dangerous situations.

    "We may not be dealing with terrorists and foreign countries, but we're dealing with hardened criminals," said Saint Cloud Police Chief Pete Gauntlett.

    Six Central Florida police agencies shared their rosters of officers who are former military. Channel 9 found nearly 400 of those on the rosters were former military, which make up 20 to 30 percent of the force in most cases.

    "You have to realize when you're talking to citizens or fellow officers (that) you have to think before you speak, if you will," said Officer Bernard Brosnan of the Saint Cloud Police Department when distinguishing between hostile work environments of their deployment and those of the local community.

    Some officials have given preference to agencies that commit to hiring veterans.

    Saint Cloud received $500,000 to hire four officers in recent years.

    The chief said that while a lot of the records are sealed, part of the background screening for officers include a psychological evaluation.

     

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