Veterans in law enforcement using military training to help Utah vets

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Depression, PTSD and other mental illnesses affect many veterans, pushing some to the point where they feel the only way out is hurting themselves or someone else.

It happened this past weekend in West Valley City; a 50-year-old vet armed with a shotgun barricaded himself inside a home and threatened to take his life.

When officers arrived, their first priority was making sure the man's family and neighbors were safe.

Once officers learned the man was a military veteran, the immediately sent in an officer who is also a vet.

That veteran officer was able use he previous military training to calm the man, convince him to surrender and get the help he needed.

Sgt. Robert Hamilton was not there that day but is a veteran and said he has recently used that experience in similar situations.

"The veteran wants someone that's had the same experiences they've had, that can relate to them, that can understand those experiences," Sgt. Hamilton said. "A lot of times there's a brotherhood, even between different services there's, 'This person can understand me, they know what it's like, they've seen what I've seen. They've done what I've done. They know how I feel.' And they'll relate to that person a little bit better."

Sgt. Hamilton said law enforcement agencies are always looking for qualified vets to apply to be officers.

He said vets always most receive preference in the hiring process because their skills in terms of experience and working within a team concept are highly valued.