Call to Order and Roll Call
The6th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, November 10, 2011, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tanya Pullin, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Vernie McGaha, Dennis Parrett, Joey Pendleton, Tim Shaughnessy, Kathy W. Stein, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Linda Belcher, Tom Burch, Dwight D. Butler, Larry Clark, Leslie Combs, Ron Crimm, Bill Farmer, David Floyd, Jeff Greer, Martha Jane King, Jimmie Lee, Terry Mills, Fred Nesler, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Sal Santoro, Rita Smart, and Ben Waide.
Guests: Shedrick J. Jones, Sr. National Association of Black Veterans, Inc.; Rodney Brewer, Commissioner, Kentucky State Police; Shane Smith, Pretrial Services Officer, Administrative Office of the Courts; Phil Miller, Program Support Specialist, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves, Kentucky National Guard; Col. Charles Jones, Kentucky National Guard; Robert Shepherd, U. S. Department of Labor; and Charlie Kendall, Vonia Grabeel, Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Representative Floyd moved to approve the October minutes. Senator Pendleton seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
National Association of Black Veterans, Inc.
The Commander of the Kentucky Chapter of the National Association of Black Veterans (NABVETS) provided handouts to the committee members detailing the five year plan, the “Vets First” Job Program, and a proposal for a Veteran’s Enrichment Center in Louisville. Ft. Campbell will be the next location that would form a NABVETS chapter. NABVETS has active duty members as well as women members. The Commander will meet with a company that develops products known as finger sports, which are designed to assist veterans in rehabilitation from injuries sustained in combat.
Kentucky State Police
Rodney Brewer, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police (KSP), testified on the organization’s new training center in Frankfort, Kentucky. The Department of Corrections transferred the former Frankfort Career Development Center to the KSP to use as a State Police Training Center. KSP has never had a dedicated training facility until they acquired this property. Use of this complex was helpful due to insufficient size and space available at their current facility. KSP will save between $25,000 and $30,000 because it will no longer have to rent additional training space. KSP has spent $76,000 on the new training facility, which will require more upgrades to several buildings. He estimated the cost of all needed upgrades to be $5 million to $7 million dollars.
In response to a question from Representative Floyd, Commissioner Brewer stated that there are approximately 60-80 cadets per class per year. After KSP is in the new facility, it will have the capacity to use a staggering system with multiple classes.
In response to a question from Chair Pullin, Commissioner Brewer stated that KSP has 16 officers deployed in the National Guard or Reserves and has had as many as 24 previously.
Pretrial Services and Veterans
Shane Smith, Pretrial Services Officer, Administrative Office of the Courts, testified on pretrial services for veterans. He detailed the number of arrests in each county, how many of those arrests were veterans, and how many had combat experience. Information is used to help identify veterans who may have issues such as post traumatic stress disorder that could be exacerbating their problems.
In response to a question from Representative Burch, Mr. Smith stated that of the veterans who have committed crimes, 90 percent have been misdemeanors such as minor theft, minor drug possession, and alcohol related offenses.
Employment Issues for National Guard and Veterans
Phil Miller, Program Support Specialist, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), gave a PowerPoint presentation on employment issues for veterans. The unemployment rate among the Kentucky National Guard (KYNG) is 15.7 percent, and this figure would be around 25 percent if not for the deployment of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. Mr. Miller presented a comprehensive four phase plan focused on assisting veterans with obtaining civilian employment to combat high unemployment among the KYNG.
In response to a question from Chair Pullin, Mr. Miller stated that the unemployment rate among veterans is high, and a reason for that is lack of knowledge in the corporate world. Mr. Miller stated that the corporate world is unaware of how skilled veterans are and what they have to offer the workforce. Mr. Miller added that veterans need to be trained on how to sell themselves to human resources people and that it needs to be a training process for both veterans and employers.
In response to a question from Senator Parrett, Mr. Miller stated that the ESGR participates in a state employer conference in Louisville and provides both support and constant education.
902 KAR 15:020 Administrative Regulation Review
Chair Pullin told members that the staff review of 902 KAR 15:020 was in their folders for their consideration. The committee took no action on the administrative regulation.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.