Joyce Joins Bipartisan Group in Introducing the SERVICE Act for Veterans and Law Enforcement

Legislation inspired by Cincinnati Police Department’s “Military Liaison Group”

WASHINGTON, DC – This past week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Reps. Maria Salazar (FL-27) and Lou Correa (CA-46) in introducing the Supporting Every at-Risk Veteran In Critical Emergencies (SERVICE) Act. This bipartisan bill would create a pilot program within the U.S. Department of Justice to provide grants to law enforcement agencies to create local veteran response teams comprised of military veteran law enforcement officers that respond to other veterans in crisis. Once the emergency is under control, the team can provide further support to the veteran and connect them with resources to create long-term solutions and care.

Among deployed U.S. troops, PTSD diagnoses grew by 400% from 2004 to 2012. Additionally, between 2000 and 2018, the number of U.S. servicemembers diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) was 383,947. When soldiers return home, these medical conditions can contribute to social isolation, poor impulse control, anger-management challenges, and substance use disorder. Veterans experiencing these challenges often find themselves in crisis as well as in conflict with the law.

“Tragically, the invisible wounds of war that haunt many of our brave veterans can cause them to struggle with readjusting to civilian life,” said Congressman Joyce. “It is critical that the men and women who have sacrificed so much to serve our country receive the care and compassion they deserve in their time of need. That’s why I joined my colleagues in introducing the SERVICE Act. This bipartisan legislation will help law enforcement create local response units specialized in helping veterans in crisis. With nearly 18 veterans dying every day of suicide, we must do more to provide our former servicemembers with the support and resources they need to live healthy, happy and successful lives when they return home.”

“Research shows that when a veteran is in crisis, they are most receptive to help and support provided by fellow veterans. Nearly 20% of our U.S. law enforcement has served in the military, and they are undoubtedly the most well-equipped to respond to other veterans in need.” said Representative Salazar. “Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our freedoms, and we owe them the best care possible when they return from their service. I am proud to introduce the SERVICE Act to provide support to our brave men and women in uniform.”

“In their times of need, veterans in crisis respond much better to fellow veterans. That’s why I am proud to co-lead the SERVICE Act, which creates veteran’s rapid response teams in state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies,” said Representative Correa. “At a moment when veteran suicides represent 13.7% of U.S. adult suicides, and when veterans are twice as likely to die from accidental overdose compared to the general U.S. population, this legislation creates a tangible solution and a cushion of support for the 18.8 million veterans in the United States, 9,862 of whom call my district home. This legislation will help veterans access timely care, get connected to proper resources, find jobs and will save lives.”

The SERVICE Act was inspired by the Cincinnati Police Department’s (CPD) “Military Liaison Group” created by Sergeant Dave Corlett. This is the only group of its kind in the United States and currently responds to calls all over the Midwest. The SERVICE Act, if passed, would help expand the program nationwide.

“On behalf of the Cincinnati Police Department Military Liaison Group, we couldn’t be more excited about the interest Congresswoman Salazar has taken in the expansion of our program or programs like it. This investment in community oriented policing will allow us to better serve our military and veteran communities. This program has and will continue to save lives both literally and figuratively,” said Cincinnati Police Department Sergeant David A. Corlett.

The SERVICE Act is widely supported by several national veteran and law enforcement groups, including the Vietnam Vets of America, Hope for the Warriors, Easterseals, the R Street Institute, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

You can read the full bill text here.


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