A police officer residency requirement has sharply divided the Memphis City Council for years, and the debate has now moved from city hall to the state capitol. A bill to change where Memphis, TN, police officers can live is one step closer to becoming a law, ActionNews5 reported.
Tennessee House Bill 105 advanced through a state House subcommittee Tuesday morning, however, a last-minute amendment means the bill will only apply to Memphis and not to other cities across the state.
The Memphis city charter says newly hired police officers and firefighters must live in Shelby County. The bill says “a local government shall not have a residency requirement for first responders as a condition of employment.
“If you truly are concerned in the rise of violent crime and want to increase the number of police officers we have, we have to extend beyond the county to be able to hire,” Mayor Jim Strickland said in a hearing at the state capital earlier this week. “We’ve been stuck at this 2,000, 2,100 officers for a couple of years now. We need 2,500. We need to be able to go from the largest pool possible and the data shows the more officers we have, the lower we can drive the crime rate.”