After serving overseas in war zones, sometimes 2 to 3 tours of duty, thousands of veterans have a difficult time adjusting to normal life after coming home. Often times they find themselves in trouble with the law and entwined in our court system. A system that doesn't necessarily take into account the problems veterans are dealing with after coming home. Now there is a system in place in Taylor County that does take those problems in to account, and it was approved at Tuesdays Taylor County Commissioners Court meeting.
Jimmy DeFoor, the local go to guy for veterans in this area says, "you have to be there to understand, you stay hyper vigilant for a year, you come back home and oviousley you are going to have some adjustment problems."
DeFoor says the new Veteran Pretrial Diversion Program, takes those issues into account.
It's a program Taylor County Commissioner Chuck Statler spear headed.
After a man or women who is arrested, in Taylor County, for a nonviolent crime, and taken to jail, the next step is to go before a judge. At that point the veteran would be identified and steered towards the program.
Mike Wolf the director of the Taylor County Probation Office says, "these veterans will be meeting on a regularly scheduled basis with both a probation officer and there will be regularly scheduled meetings with Judge Sam Carol in County Court at Law 2."
Wolf added, "the probation officer will brief the Judge on the progress of each individual, and at that time each individual will receive encouragement from the judge."
The probation officer and the Judge the veterans will be seeing are also veterans.
Judge Sam Carol said after the Commissioners meeting, "I think that they are used to an authority figure who can give them an accolade, saying hey, you did a good job today, keep it up."
If they do keep it up and complete the year long program, they will have the opportunity to have their charge taken off of their record.
The program will not cost tax payers money because all the people are already in place and if a veteran needs a some kind of concealing they will use their veterans benefits to receive the service.