Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Addressing Police, Update

The City Council's public safety and homeland security committee voted today to send a police residency resolution to the full council.

The resolution would allow police officers to live within 20 miles of the Shelby County line.

"The police department has said that one third of the new hires have said that if they were required to live in the city of Memphis, they would not have applied," said Council member Jim Strickland. "I think crime is important enough to make this exception. That's why I'm voting for it."

Barbara Swearengen Ware and Harold Collins were against the resolution. Collins said he thought the council should wait and see how effective the MPD's new marketing campaign is before changing the residency requirement.

Ware has long been a vocal supporter of police officers living within the city limits.

"As we speak, [the police department] has 1,000 applications," she said. "Are you not willing to allow the process to work? Or are you just determined to get folk that don't live in Memphis to work and go back home to Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri?"

But council member Shea Flinn said the current restriction puts the city at a competitive disadvantage.

"If you go back to the task force, only one out of seven [applicants] gets hired. Out of 1,000, that's 140, and with our attrition, it's not enough," Flinn said. "Either we're going to address this need or we're not. ... Either you want your pride or you want your safety."

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