With round 10% of town’s inhabitants estimated to be veterans, the Kingman Police Department has launched a new program to connect veterans in the police pressure with veterans in want in the neighborhood.
Under the new Veteran Liaison Program, law enforcement officials who’ve served will be dispatched on calls involving different veterans in the hopes that their shared historical past will assist de-escalate a given state of affairs. This will additionally hopefully present a basis to additional connect them with resources obtainable to them in the neighborhood.
While this program has solely been in place for lower than a month, Kingman Police Chief Rusty Cooper mentioned lots of his officers had already been doing this informally after they would come throughout a veteran in their work.
“What my officers who are veterans have found is that there’s an immediate bond or a trust that’s there,” Cooper mentioned.
The space’s veteran inhabitants largely comes from The Gulf War, Desert Strom and now all of the new conflicts in Afghanistan and past which were occurring for the previous 20 years, he mentioned. These are the identical conflicts many on his employees had been concerned in themselves.
“I’m hiring those veterans but also we’re dealing with those same veterans out in our community,” he mentioned.
Municipal Court Judge Jeffrey Singer has overseen town’s Veterans Treatment Court since 2015 and proposed this program to the division as a approach to connect veterans with resources and doubtlessly hold them out of the felony justice system altogether.
“If they know the officer that they’re talking to is a fellow veteran themselves, a lot of time it will de-escalate the situation,” Singer mentioned.
Local emergency dispatchers will have a listing of the veteran officers who’re working and obtainable to answer any calls that they know contain a veteran.
It’s not possible to at all times know when a name includes a veteran, Singer mentioned, however as a result of town and surrounding areas have such a excessive veteran inhabitants, there are useful resource facilities and designated veteran housing that may usually present a clue.
The greater than a dozen veterans with the Kingman police division, each sworn and civilian, will additionally now put on lapel pins indicating their department of service, making them extra simply identifiable to the general public and particularly fellow veterans they might encounter on a name.
“I think [this program] is just another tool that we can use to better assist the veterans in our community,” Singer mentioned.
Contact northern Arizona reporter Lacey Latch at [email protected] or on social media @laceylatch. Coverage of northern Arizona on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is funded by the nonprofit Report for America and a grant from the Vitalyst Health Foundation in affiliation with The Arizona Republic.