New Program Helps Police Recruit Veterans

Kentucky law enforcement agencies have a new tool to help recruit officers.

The new Military to Law Enforcement (M-2-LE) Program allows Kentucky law enforcement agencies to hire active service members during their final 180 days of service. The program applies to members of all branches of the U.S. military. It allows the service member to receive military pay and benefits while attending the Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT) Academy in Richmond.

M-2-LE is the result of a partnership among the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council (KLEC), Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs (KCMA), and Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA). It aims to help service members transition into civilian life. Law enforcement agencies can acquire a fully certified officer and save as much as six months of the officer’s salary during training.

The Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program establishes agreements between law enforcement agencies and the military branches. Kentucky is the first state to utilize SkillBridge. KLEC is actively seeking police departments to join the M-2-LE program. Veterans must make a three-year commitment to the hiring police agency, which must provide a minimum hourly salary.

“Our first goal in designing the M-2-LE program was to create an effective and efficient means to recruit and train military personnel interested in starting a law enforcement career in Kentucky,” KLEC Chairman and Kenton County Police Chief Spike Jones said. “The second goal was to incentivize the program by offering financial and expedited hiring benefits for law enforcement and support agencies who choose to hire veterans. We are proud to say we accomplished both. The program provides significant cost savings to law enforcement agencies as the military has agreed to continue paying the service member’s salary and other benefits while attending a basic training academy.”

KDVA Commissioner retired Lt. Col. Whitney Allen called the program a win-win for law enforcement agencies, veterans, and Kentucky. Allen said the program is an excellent opportunity to recruit veterans to work and live in Kentucky while allowing them to continue honorable service to their communities.

The Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board is developing initiatives to help Kentucky employers fill vacancies and capitalize on tax incentives for employing displaced workers, which includes transitioning service members and their spouses.