Unlike many veterans who leave military service with no idea where their next job is coming from, Star Cazador had it all figured out – what she would do, where she would do it, and how much she would like it.
Taking a cue from fellow Marines who sought careers in law enforcement after discharge, Cazador applied to the Santa Clara County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office. It seemed a natural transition.
“There is a huge comfort level,” said Cazador, who served in the Marines from 2005-09 and is now a Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy. “In the academy, my best friends were other prior military.”
Although many veterans feel that law enforcement is a natural fit, some say the profession is the least suitable career choice for veterans who are still working out emotional issues from deployments.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t keep precise statistics on the number of veterans employed in law enforcement, instead lumping together the classification with wardens, school crossing guards and other security jobs. But the agency reports the unemployment rate for post-Sept. 11, 2001, veterans was 7.7 percent in July, up from 7.2 percent in June. That’s 0.3 percent higher than the unemployment rate for the civilian labor force.
“The veterans we’re trying to reach out to, they have the set of skills, the discipline and the training where they would easily transition from the military to civilian law enforcement,” said San Francisco police Officer Gregory Pak.