The Times reports that Osvaldo Hernandez, whose weapons conviction barred him from the New York Police Department but not the U.S. Army, has been pardoned by Governor David Paterson.
I learned Mr. Hernandez’s story when I met his attorney, Jim Harmon, at a recent Cornell conference on criminal records and employment. The military now conducts a “whole person review” of enlistment eligibility, granting Mr. Hernandez a misconduct waiver. Here’s the policy:
The Services will enlist into the Armed Services individuals who are fully qualified to serve. Judgment as to an applicant’s qualifications is reached by virtue of a “whole person” review in which all aspects of an applicant’s qualifications are examined. It is possible, in some cases, that waiver consideration may be warranted. Enlistment waiver practices shall be standardized across the Military Services to ensure consistent and equitable reporting that, in turn, assures reliable and meaningful evaluation of the Department’s performance in managing whole person eligibility reviews.
In contrast, the NYPD has categorically barred anyone with a felony from service. Mr. Hernandez evidently served with great distinction as a paratrooper in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Now, with the help of various generals, governors, attorneys, and advocates, he hopes to make good on his dream of becoming a New York City police officer.