A barrier that prevented some military police officers from transitioning into service as civilian police was eliminated Friday as part of a broader effort to help veterans find meaningful work in Minnesota.

Although he typical military enlistment term is four years, state law required five years of active duty experience in military law enforcement before residents could qualify to take a police officer reciprocity exam. Veterans who held a two-year college degree needed a minimum of three years’ military police experience before they could take the exam.

A bill signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton changes those experience requirements to four and two years respectively, making them more consistent with the length of military commitments.

The new law, based on a measure authored by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa and Sen. Bruce Anderson, R-Buffalo,  builds on reforms enacted last session that allowed military police officers to take their reciprocity exams while still on active duty, helping them transition more quickly to civilian employment and life.

“The common sense reforms we have made over these last two years will help Minnesotans who have served their country honorably in the military continue that service here at home in our communities,” Dayton said in a statement. “I thank these veterans for their remarkable commitment to service, and pledge my continued support to help all Minnesota veterans find employment.”

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) provides employment services for military veterans. Employers seeking to hire veterans should visit this website designed for Minnesota employers.

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