LANSING (AP) – Veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan would be good candidates to serve and protect the state, according to the director of the Michigan State Police.
Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said she is looking at veterans to be among the 400 troopers she aims to recruit and train, as her department prepares to significantly expand for the first time in decades and state officials focus on lowering a high jobless rate among the vets.
“The timing is good because we have about 3,000 men and women coming home,” Etue told the Detroit Free Press. “The military transitions very well into public safety.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal released this month includes increasing general fund support for the state police from about $269 million to $312 million. He also wants to lower unemployment among the state’s Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. The rate stood at 29.4 percent in 2010.
Etue said it’s a “good feeling” to have the support of the governor, who sees the link between public safety and economic development. She said she is hosting orientation sessions in the hope that Snyder will announce a trooper recruit school.
The number of troopers is as low as it’s been since the 1960s, and Etue said she expects about 300 to retire within the next three years. She said soldiers and sailors typically possess the right skills and traits to be troopers.
“If you ever go through a recruit school, you can always tell those that have been in the military,” she said. “They know how to march, they know how to shine their shoes and they have that whole demeanor that’s already ingrained in them.”
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