By Theresa Price
Special to the Las Vegas Tribune
There exists proposed legislation to add one’s military service on
their driver’s license, per 4/4/0630L telecon with a representative at
Shelley Berkley’s office in Washington, DC (202.225.5965). Rep.
Berkley will be asked to voice her position on the issue of Nevada
adding military service to drivers’ licenses.
According to Mr. Boden, Maryland’s Chief of Staff for Veteran’s
Affairs, a dozen states passed such laws in 2011: Arkansas,
Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, North Dakota,
Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. States pursuing
legislation in 2012 include Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey and South
Carolina. Some 16 states have signed on to support this measure while
it seems Nevada remains moot on the subject.
William “Sarge” Garlitz, 69, commander of American Legion Post 166 in
Ocean City, Md., said the measure is “past due.” “It should have been
done years ago,” said Garlitz, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant who
served during the Vietnam War.
Legislators say it will come in handy, from securing state veterans’
claims, to getting a military discount at a local retailer or service
provider. A more serious reason is that veterans suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury have been
known to scuffle with law enforcement after they return home.
It is not because they [choose to do so], but because when they feel
threatened, their trained response for survival lights up as though it
were a switch turned on – something most who have not been in a combat
environment could even begin to understand.
If police at the scene realize they’re dealing with a veteran, one who
may have PTSD and/or TBI, it could help them better handle the
situation. Such insight, apart from the records LVMPD already had on
Stanley Gibson, may have worked to get Gibson the help he needed as
opposed to [implementing] the unilateral decision of a Metro officer
to murder him in his vehicle.
Given the propensity for our local law enforcement to use excessive
force and their disposure toward police misconduct, a notice of
military service on a driver’s license or state ID would be useful
wherein veterans dealing with the Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las
Vegas police are concerned.
So why hasn’t military service on driver’s licenses and state ID’s
been adopted in Nevada? Perhaps because Metro would be given a
heads-up regarding the very likely scenario they may prefer to
escalate. And in that event, Metro wouldn’t be given full authority to
visit the escalation of such upon those suffering from Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.