Winston-Salem police badge (copy)

The Winston-Salem Police Department is actively recruiting military veterans, offering a 5% pay incentive and a $1,000 signing bonus.

The police department placed a billboard outside of the Fort Bragg Army base to advertise their interest in hiring veterans as part of a campaign “Change your uniform, not your calling.”

Sgt. Marcus Hamilton said they want veterans to know their prior service is not forgotten and that their talents can be reinvested in keeping community members safe.

“That sacrifice they made to the country is now transferred,” said Hamilton, who is also a military veteran. “And the sacrifice now is to the community and the citizens of Winston-Salem.”

A uniform policy change will also allow veterans who work at the police department to be recognized with a special pin that has an American flag with the word “Veteran” below it. Hamilton presented three veteran officers with the pin at Wednesday’s public safety meeting.

Hamilton said wearing the pin paves a connection between the two career paths and has the potential to connect the veteran officers with community members.

“It’s not where one career ends and another career begins. There’s a continuity between the two,” he said. “It’s also an outward expression on the uniform to the citizen… They could see the pin and recognize (the officer) as a fellow veteran and there’s an instant connection there that may not have been made.”

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