Five retired military dogs that spent years working in war zones are putting their noses to new uses by helping police in the United States combat methamphetamine and other drugs, according to the Associated Press, as carried on the Stars and Stripes website.
The dogs are being deployed to departments in Indiana, Texas, Tennessee, Nebraska and Georgia as part of a venture that organizers say gives police a resource they couldn’t otherwise afford and provides the dogs a new mission.
“If you were to look at these dogs and watch them, when they come back, they’re ready to work,” said Mike Thomas, a Harris County, Texas, sheriff’s officer and board member for the Houston-based organization K9s4Cops, which is using a $25,000 grant from Westport Pharmaceuticals in St. Louis to acquire the dogs and train them to work with their new handlers.
The Military Times is reporting the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General plans to probe whether service members were improperly forced out of the military since 2009 due to mental health issues after reporting their sexual assaults.
In a June 24 memo to the Army, Navy and Air Force, Randolph Stone, deputy inspector general for policy and oversight, said the OIG plans to first identify service members who made unrestricted sexual assault reports since the beginning of 2009, and identify service members by type of separation after filing such reports. The OIG will then evaluate whether those who were separated for non-disability medical conditions — including personality and adjustment disorder — were done according to DoD rules.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for a few good directors, actually more than a few. System-wide the department has been dealing with a lack of qualified candidates to run its beleaguered health-care facilities. In St. Louis, the top job has been posted seven times since 2013, according to a story broadcast by radio station KWMU/90.7, the St. Louis NPR affiliate.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, says the “majority of the time they posted this position, they got no applicants.” To remedy that shortage of qualified applicants, McCaskill has introduced legislation to allow VA facilities to increase pay for directors.
She says that while doctors and medical professionals at VA facilities are being paid market rates, directors are not. “And the directors at these facilities are making — at their highest point — less than half of what medical directors are making in the private sector,” McCaskill said.
She says it’s no wonder the system can’t attract qualified applicants.
“I know people want to serve their country and they want to serve veterans, but it would be hard to tell your family ‘I’m going to make less than half what I could make anywhere else,’” McCaskill said.
Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2533.