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Mayor, city council want new RPD hires to live in Rochester but the idea needs a state law

Berkeley Brean
Created: August 31, 2020 05:32 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monday afternoon Rochester joined the cities of Buffalo and Syracuse asking for a state law requiring every newly hired police officer to live in the city.

Just about every single city employee has to live in the city. There are some exceptions, however, that include police and firefighters. Now the mayor and the city council want that changed.

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Mayor Lovely Warren: "If we are to address the barriers between our police department and our community, we have to eliminate that very distinction."

The mayor was joined by the leadership of the city council and Police Chief La'ron Singletary. 

Loretta Scott, City Council President: "Our request to expand residency requirements to newly hired police officers is not radical, it's common sense."

The move is to improve the relationship between the police and the people who live and work in the city and keep the money paid to police officers in the city. 

Mayor Lovely Warren: "The taxpayers of the city are paying our police officers. And they deserve to have those officers live in the community that's paying them."

Brean: "Do residency requirements like this work? Do they help improve relationships?"

Peter Eisinger, Professor Emeritus New School: "As far as I know there's been no research or very little research on the impact of residency rules on community relations."

Peter Eisinger is a professor at the New School in New York. He studies public policy and urban politics and the surge of residency rules in the 1970s. 

Earlier this summer, Buffalo and Syracuse said they want a residency requirement for new police. 

Brean: "Why do you think cities like Buffalo, Syracuse and now Rochester want to do it?"

Peter Eisinger: "Well times have changed certainly since the 1970s. I think the intent is to make policing, the police force more representative of the city."

The bill to make this a law in Buffalo is already in State Senate and Assembly committees.

The mayor and city council president wrote a letter to every state lawmaker in our area including this one to Senator Joe Robach. 

"The senior member of the assembly from our area -- told us the idea is interesting. "I anticipate that council will be passing a Home Rule message to allow the state legislature to act," Assemblymember Harry Bronson said in a statement. "I will continue to fight for what is best for the families of our community."


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