The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Guest Editorial: Legion shows support for law enforcement


As we celebrated our 244th Independence Day on July 4th, 2020 it is has become apparent for us to reflect on our nation builders who brought us to this amazing republic in 1776. A great part of our success in establishing this republic can be attributed to the 'rule of law' and our country's willingness to enforce that rule of law by supporting our law enforcement. In the second decade of our new millennium we once again remember our resolve.

The Preamble of the Constitution of the American Legion includes as one of its objectives..."to maintain law and order". The American Legion has embraced this objective by supporting several programs throughout the country...encouraging youth to experience law enforcement through the Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Program, encouraging veterans to consider law enforcement as a career after concluding their military service, and recognizing our law enforcement professionals through the American Legion Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY) program.

As concerned citizens and veterans, Legionnaires have always fostered a strong sense of law and order and have upheld the protection of American citizens and the American way of life. They have always held law enforcement agencies in the highest regard, and many posts and departments already recognize outstanding law enforcement officers of various jurisdictions who daily serve our communities and frequently lay their lives on the line. The Montana Department of the American Legion and our several posts throughout Montana actively participate in the LEOY program and have for several years.

It seems logical that a law enforcement career is suitable for a veteran and not only a veteran who has served in law enforcement career fields in the military.

In a November 29, 2018 article, Sean Mclain Brown wrote: "There are many reasons why law enforcement agencies actively seek veterans to employ within their ranks and why veterans are attracted to the field of law enforcement upon retirement. For one, the structure of a police force is very similar to that of the military. Secondly, many of the same traits that make a person successful in the military are also required for success in a law enforcement agency".

It is from that background, and with the recent nationwide calls for defunding our law enforcement officials, that the Montana Department of the American Legion is compelled to speak out in support of our statewide law enforcement officers and administration. While Legionnaires throughout Montana recognize that there will always be a bad actor or two in a career field, any career field, that is not justification to disparage the whole cadre of fine upstanding members who bring safety to our families on a daily basis.

As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Montana, Attorney General Tim Fox, stated; "Recent calls by some misguided individuals to defund law enforcement agencies in the wake of the George Floyd tragedy are not only reckless overreactions to a serious situation, but are an insult to the thousands of good law enforcement officers across our country who put their lives on the line every day to protect public safety."

Montana American Legion Department Commander, Jeff Nelson, joins the chorus of many across the state in recognizing, thanking, and supporting our Montana law enforcement officials. "We cannot turn away from this discussion and ignore our American Legion Preamble. On behalf of the more than 10,000 Montana Legion Members, I extend a grateful and heartfelt THANK YOU to all who are in the law enforcement career field.


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