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We owe veterans a place at front of line in civil service

Lawrence Harmon (“Boston’s police test: Prospects get dimmer for minority officers,” Op-ed, March 9) ought to have a better understanding of why the civil service preference for veterans is justified. To compare the experience of a community college student or City Year volunteer to a veteran who served in the military during wartime is naive.

The veteran has had experiences that a student or nonprofit volunteer could never have. Veterans have advantages in decision making and leadership experience that make them the best candidates for civil service employment. These men and women risked it all to protect their country. We should not send them to the back of the line.

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I would also argue that the military is an equal opportunity employer. If minority citizens are interested in becoming a police officer or firefighter, they can join the military and receive the same preference. Veterans preference is given equally to minority and nonminority candidates. We should not penalize veterans because they served their country when others chose not to.

We owe it to our veterans, returning home after a decade of war, to give them priority in civil service employment. At the very least, they deserve the first chance to protect our communities as they sacrificed to protect our country.

Jesse Flynn


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