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Confronting mental health and substance abuse issues within the veteran community

The Veterans Justice Initiative partners with local law enforcement to identify veterans who could benefit from services and how to improve officer resiliency

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In 1954, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. According to the Department of Justice COPS Office, nearly 25% of American law enforcement officers have a military background. We thank them for their service.

Sadly, the rate of suicide for veterans is roughly 57% higher than the general public for a variety of reasons, from PTSD to substance abuse to other mental health issues. With this in mind, The Independence Fund, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, initiated the Veterans Justice Initiative under the guidance of Clark Pennington, a former police chief. The initiative’s goal is to enhance law enforcement’s comprehension of the challenges faced by veterans and facilitate their access to the necessary treatment. The first year was such a success that the state of North Carolina officially extended funding through its recently passed state budget.

In this episode of the Policing Matters podcast, sponsored by Lexipol, host Jim Dudley speaks with Clark Pennington about the program, the goal of which is to confront deeply rooted mental health and substance abuse issues within the veteran community.

About our sponsor

This episode of the Policing Matters Podcast is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

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Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing