ICPD, Sheriff's office get $375,000 to hire recent veterans


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Certain qualified veterans could soon be offered a job in local law enforcement after the U.S. Department of Justice awarded a grant to two local law-enforcement agencies.

The Iowa City police and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office will be given a $375,000 grant after several attempts to obtain ot.

This is the first time the Sheriff's Office or the Police Department will receive money from the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program, county Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek said.

This is also the first year the program — which could provide funds to hire or rehire law-enforcement officers — has included a stipulation that the new hirings must be recent veterans who have served at least 180 days since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Police Department will receive a $250,000 grant to hire two new officers, and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office will receive a $125,000 grant to hire one new deputy. Both grants will pay for the salary and benefits of the three new officers for three years, according to a release issued by Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

However, the new positions most likely will not benefit members of the University of Iowa Veterans Association.

"I would be surprised if any of our students were to be hired," said John Mikelson, the UI Veterans Center coordinator. "Because we don't teach criminology or law enforcement."

The program awards more than $111 million to more than 220 cities and counties nationwide that were selected based on financial need, local crime rates, and a pledge to hire military veterans, according to the release.

The Sheriff's Office will continue to follow its regular hiring practices when filling its new position.

"We have a civil-service list we have to chose from when hiring," Pulkrabek said. "We can only choose from the top 10, and we have 25 people on the list."

The civil-service list, which has not been updated in more than a year, will be reviewed to make sure the qualified candidates who are available for hiring are veterans.

"You can't just hire any vet," Pulkrabek said.

Loebsack said the grant will provide funds to an important entity of the state.

"Our local law-enforcement officers play a vital role in keeping out communities safe," he said in the release. "The men and women on these police forces are hard-working, dedicated professionals who serve to improve our communities and help make Johnson County a great place to live and raise a family."

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