This Vet center hyperlink gives you the location and free counseling services provided by the Vet Center. Simply click on your state to see the location closest to you. They can also assist you navigate through the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy. This is a very important resource for you.
This is similar to the "check boxes" idea above for your employees to address each department within your organization. The boxes can be replaced with "Human Resources" and "Payroll" etc.
Why do Soldiers like war? "The Siren's call"
The Texas Department of Public Safety has completely developed and implemented a program known as "Departments Veteran Assistance Program (D-VAP.)" It is by far the most comprehensive LE/VET program I have seen. If you are an employer looking to assist a veteran in your employ or if you a veteran and feel that your company would benefit from policy development, these forms will ease the stress of transition. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Harris at the Texas Dept of Public Safety at email@example.com . I've only included a couple examples here; the DPS D-VAP program has several very informative Power Points for leadership. They also have done an amazing job with research and support for the implementation of the D-VAP policy. My recommendation would be to use what the Texas DPS developed, contact them, or myself at Selfish Prayer, either will gladly forward you their policy and all supporting information. Below is an overview of their program.
Very powerful message about the care and treatment of our Veterans today. At the end of this video there are numerous helpful Military organizational links.
This document is a Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) for pre-deployment. It has "check boxes" to make sure every item is completed for the Soldier. This can be used as a template for your employees for the "before, during and after" their deployment and return to work. Each department/employer should develop your own checklist to meet employee/Departmental needs. At least have a representative as a "POC" (point of contact) that has the answers for your employee about reintegration. See another example by the Texas DPS below.
Welcome to the Reintegration Page. This page is designed to assist you develop policy that assists Leadership and employees/employers and their families address the challenges of a duel work/military life. The "how to" of maintaining and cultivating a positive and productive atmosphere for Law Enforcement, Public Service, private industry, and the military before, during and after a military deployment.
The below hyperlinks and policy template are designed to "fast track" you to resources and lectures that will give you the tools and techniques needed to be successful. It will also assist you in understanding some of the challenges and mindsets of your military and LEO's/employees upon return.
(In this context the use of the word "LEO" is synonymous with "employee" as is "agency" with "private company. Consider these resource for any post-traumatic incidences.)
INFORMAL WORDS OF ADVICE TO FOLLOW
Not in order of priority but, in progress, be patient!
If you decide not to implement a formal policy then here are some recommendations I have for you based on my personal experiences and research:
1. Develop and formalize a reintegration policy. It will save a lot of money by eliminating countless man hours to investigate complaints. It will bring them back into the culture faster and with greater success. Listen, you have a lot invested in your personnel, both in training time in the community, that Officer and their family besides, its the right thing to do. Just do it, the template is here, cut and paste your name and logo.
2. Do not depend on the specific service your LEO is in to properly reintegrate them successfully back into "the real world". They try but it's a flawed and easily beatable system (contact me if you want to know what I mean here). Besides, it's your investment, your LEO family, why leave that to others. Plus it's numbers, the Military has way more to process than you do.
3. Develop a checklist for before/during/after the deployment. Run the checklist through all of your department e.g. finance, Human Resources, PERS, POST requirements and fully investigate what you need to do to prepare.
4. If they are a part of the Public Employee's Retirement System (PERS) then you will need to make sure they submit the proper documentation upon return to restore the States retirement contribution. I have your attention now don't I. The form is a PERS-369 Request for Service Credit Cost Information-Military Service. It is a duel purpose form so don't let the name fool you. You have to submit it in order to restore the PERS service credit otherwise you may show 25 years of service but only 23 years of contribution. It's not automatic and your HR people are clueless about it, trust me.
5. Be at the airport on their return, have the Chief of Police, Sheriff, or high ranking official from your Department/Agency waiting. You can erase a lot of sins by being there at the end.
6. Maintain contact with the family, invite them to the Christmas parties and all events, Make sure they know that they are still part of your LEO culture and that they matter. You can't buy this kind of loyalty from your returning War Fighter when they know your watching out for their family.
7. Saying "thank you for your service" is almost always genuine, however, it's so overused and get's to the point of a "work smarter not harder" feel. The message you want to convey is that they matter. Better to say "welcome home" or "we missed you" or "we are glad your back with us" or something along that line. why? it conveys no judgments, no falsehoods. It feels like returning home to "Family", your tribe missed you.
8. Don't even consider simply telling your LEO about counseling services by handing them a pamplete and letting it that be that. A good Department, a good Police psychologist will informally introduce themselves, create some "face time" and ask the LEO for help in sharpening up the reintegration program by asking them what needs to be put in place. It creates ownership, it gets them talking and, just so you know, Military LEO's will help "come hell or high water" other Military LEO's, especially Combat Veterans.
9. Don't expect more than one or two word responses like "it sucked" if you ask your LEO about their Combat service. They don't trust you there, you haven't earned that trust. Don't take it personally, it takes time. See the above hyperlink to why Soldiers like war.
10. If you ask and they start talking, don't you dare start talking about you unless your relating Combat Vet experience. Don't interrupt, don't suddenly get too busy and run off. If you do, you will have lost their trust, unintentionally marginalized them.
11. They are not rookies, they are not to be FTO'd but, don't hand them the keys to the patrol unit and assign a beat without a reorientation. Let me just say that laws and procedures and District Attorney requirements and forms are in constant change, they have to catch up. I would remind you here that the use of force policy is different stateside than it is in Iraq or Afghanistan...right? Make sure they have appropriate adjustment time Departmentally.
12. Assign someone to them, a handler for the lack of a better term. Someone that walks them around to each unit, someone that makes sure all the finance, retirement, training, etc. happens. Assign someone and make them accountable. You may think "flashbacks" are the big devil, they can be but, not knowing where you stand financially, worried you may owe lots of money upon return is a huge worry. If someone competent is assigned to make sure it all balances out for your LEO well, again, you can't buy that kind of loyalty you will get in return.
13. Be aware, calling your Service Member (SM) a "HERO" may cause an unintended response, an awkward moment or simple deflection by them. They know what you mean and what your saying and that you are being kind but a HERO to an SM means something completely different. A HERO for SM's is a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman that lost his/her life in battle. Sometimes they were there with them when it happened, sometimes a friend, sometimes a complete stranger but knowing it was a fellow SM makes it tough. I flew many HERO missions, they are very painful. It's often better to acknowledge their courage rather than calling them a hero.
Departmental/Employer responsibilities listed
Texas DPS checklist.
Note that they list out pre/during/post deployment requirements
Often Departmental/Private Industry leadership, it's personnel, and their families struggle with reintegration back to "the real world" after a Military deployment. Agencies more often than not have no "formal" reintegration program in place, they simply "wing it". Inevitably struggles ensue both at work and at home, this is the norm. Most if not all of these challenges are easily mitigated if not completely eliminated over time by creating a simple no or low cost reintegration program policy. Below are links to helpful programs that support Departments/Company, it's personnel, and their families with specific strategies to employ. You will see helpful hyperlinks to website lectures and information. I have also attached checklists from the Army to use as a template to build your own "before/during/after check sheet". After much investigation I believe that the Texas Department of Public Safety developed one of the best, if not thee best reintegration programs called Departmental Veterans Assistance Program (D-VAP) I have attached some of their forms as well.