The use of unmanned drones have made individuals with military experience an increasingly favorable pick for law enforcement.
According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) website, “[t]he surge home from these wars is underway, and more than one million troops will re-enter civilian life in the next five years.” They should know. Founded in 2002, the IAVA is the nation’s largest nonpartisan and nonprofit organization committed to “serving the 2.4 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan from their first day home through the rest of their lives.” The 200,000-member strong organization works with celebrities, entrepreneurs and politicians to publicize the return of these war veterans, their service to their country and their country’s obligation to hire, educate and support them.
Even for a robust economy, an influx of job seekers of this magnitude would be a challenge for the economic infrastructure. Despite the economic improvements that are slowly developing, veterans may be challenged to find desired employment. Some may return to school to complete unfinished education plans or to increase their marketability.
Majors and Fields of Study Favored By Veterans
A criminal justice degree educates students in the basics of law enforcement and criminal investigation. Supporting classes include those on criminal law; the U.S. court system and its organization; corrections within jails and prisons; the probation and parole system’s juvenile crime and delinquency and the juvenile justice system. This major is often offered as both an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree requiring a period of longer study. Depending upon the specific police or sheriff’s department to which one applies, a degree may or may not be required; however, education beyond a high school diploma is increasingly necessary as the field undergoes professionalization.
United States military veterans are a diverse group comprised of enlisted soldiers and officers with different types and degrees of military training from housekeeping, to clerks, to military police to helicopter pilots. Nonetheless, as a group, military veterans often choose a degree in this field at greater proportions than the general population and existing law enforcement agencies often show a demonstrable preference for hiring military veterans in part due to ex-soldiers’ shorter learning curve with police bureaucracy and its pseudo-military organization.
According to DiscoverPolicing.org, “[i]ndividuals with military experience make desirable law enforcement employees and bring a high level of training and dedication to policing careers.” Further, the site makes a special argument for combat veterans specifically citing that they “are typically team-oriented professionals who exemplify the selfless commitment necessary to serve their communities as police officers.” A recent article on the same site, “Tips for Military Veterans Considering Law Enforcement Careers,” encourages veterans to emphasize the discipline, training and can-do attitude they’ve learned through their service to the country.
Crime, Justice and Technology
Degrees in this field within law enforcement will become increasingly common in the next few decades. The “professionalism” of the field is one reason. However, the driving force will be the increasingly complex technology used for crime investigation and law enforcement. Infrared sensors, global positioning tracking systems (GPS) and a marked improvement in crime scene technology are just a few examples of technological improvements utilized by law enforcement. Unmanned police drones are the latest type of technology undergoing testing in five American cities with the full approval of the FAA. Drones are expected to document crime or criminal behavior such as speeding.
Military veterans trained in law enforcement have two additional benefits. Technology is frequently utilized in military combat before it becomes available to civilians, and the classes later taken in pursuit of a degree in the field only add to their familiarity with the science. Police officers with this background will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of a growing field with an increasing reliance on technology.