Philly Police Officers Apparently Don't Want to Live in This Crime-Ridden Shithole

By Joel Mathis
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 12 | Posted Jun. 30, 2009

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Philadelphia is a nice place to do police work, but I wouldn't want to live there!

Photo by Flickr user Vincent J. Brown, used under a Creative Commons license.

It's not terribly comforting to find out that the Fraternal Order of Police -- once again -- is asking that Philly cops be exempted from a rule that they actually live in Philly:

FOP vice president John McGrody said that the union has presented evidence and testimony about ending the residency requirement to a three-member arbitration panel considering terms of the new police contract.

McGrody said that police officers and their families told the arbitration panel about wanting better educational opportunities for their kids in the suburbs and facing threats from people in their neighborhoods for their police work.

"Our position is: It would be good for our members and their families," McGrody said. "Our members signed up for this job. Not their families."

This is a bad idea. For one thing, it's a terrible signal that the FOP is sending to the rest of the city: We'll protect you if we must, but we sure as hell don't feel good about living with you. There's already plenty of alienation between cops and whole communities in Philly; that won't be helped if Philadelphians see the cops as outsiders and if the cops see Philadelphia as a place where "other" people live. It frankly lessens their investment in trying to make the city as good a place to live as it can be.

It's here that America's "surge" in Iraq might be seen as a useful guide to local law enforcement. The surge didn't work -- to the extent that it did -- merely because there were more American troops on the ground. It worked because those troops moved off of large operating bases outside Iraqi cities and into neighborhoods. Rather than "commuting to the war," American troops lived alongside the Iraqi civilians they were charged with protecting. That helped create better relationships between the troops and civilians, which in turn led to better intelligence -- and less support -- for the insurgents.

I won't suggest that Philly cops be required to live in the precincts where they serve; it would be too complicated, and I'm guessing there'd be a wholesale rebellion. But right now, they have a minimum requirement that they actually live in the city they serve. If that's too burdensome, maybe they should turn their jobs over to Philadelphians who do want to serve the city where they live.

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Comments 1 - 12 of 12
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1. José said... on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:49PM

“Police officers should absolutely live in the city they work in. Should there be a crippling emergency in need of first-responders (think: 9/11), they would be able to get to a station ASAP. In the article quoted above, union officials cite the fact that the residency requirement was scrapped for teachers. I'd like to know how that is relevant? The FOP is comparing apples to oranges; this is a public safety issue. As for their contentions that they want "better educational opportunities," they knew of the requirement prior to being hired. Caveat Emptor!”

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2. Anonymous said... on Jun 30, 2009 at 04:59PM

“Let them join a police force where they move to. There are plenty of
Philadelphians who can take their jobs. Talk about guts!”

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3. Duty NCO said... on Jul 1, 2009 at 06:32AM

“NYPD among other departments come here to recruit. Police Departments also go to military bases to seek out newly discharged personnel. What is wrong with that?”

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4. José said... on Jul 1, 2009 at 04:05PM

“That recruiters come here is not the problem. I am sure NYPD has a residency requirement for its officers. again, it is a public safety issue. Namely, in case of an emergency, these officers should have fast and easy access to their station or command post (think: 9/11). This is a requirement of the job, and it is explained prior to their hiring. If they do not like to live in the city, they have the option of resigning and moving to their desired locale.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Jul 2, 2009 at 05:36PM

“I don't think a police officer should be required to live in the town/city they work for however they should live within a reasonable distance from it. Some cities that have a residence requirement place a burden on the officer because the cost of living in the city is much higher than what the officer earns.”

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6. patti said... on Aug 31, 2009 at 11:49AM

“I am a spouse a Philly police officer and I take offense to this antiquated rule. This residency rule is NOT the norm -- most townships, boroughs, and 99% of most major cities DO NOT have a residency requirement. I am sure all of those law enforcment officers are just as dedicated to their job!

NYPD DOES have a residency requirement. Get with times - philly -- you'll get a better selection of recruits!”

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7. patti said... on Aug 31, 2009 at 11:51AM

“I meant to say NEW YORK PD does NOT have a residency requirement!”

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8. j davis said... on Sep 21, 2009 at 03:11PM

“The fact that many police officers do not want their families in Philly speaks volumes about the city. Why should police officers subject their families to a high crime environment? I moved to New Hope and have never looked back and only go into Philly for Philadelphia orchestra concerts or if it is absolutely necessary. Between the high taxes, crime and the PPA its a wonder that anyone would actually want to live in Philly!”

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9. James said... on Nov 5, 2009 at 02:45PM

“This rule is anitquated. NYC doe snot have residency req - only that you live within a certain distance of the city. That makes sense.

The families deserve the same educational opportunities as everyone else. Other jobs do not have a residency req. Also, police are targeted in the city because of their job. Since they cannot live in the precinct they work in, what difference does it make if they are in or out of the city?

If they don't lift this req., they are going to lose people. It is already hard enough to find qualified police in this city.”

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10. Anonymous said... on Feb 16, 2010 at 09:36PM

“NYPD does have a residency requirement, but it is reasonable. You need to live in one of the five boroughs or in one of the five neighboring counties. I would say that 90%of the towns and cities in NJ require residency at the time of appointment, but they are not required once they are appointed as full time officers.”

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11. Nikki said... on Dec 6, 2011 at 07:32PM

“Philadelphia police deserve to expose their families to the best education and living standards. Their job should not restrict that!”

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12. Rev Tonette Henry said... on Aug 30, 2013 at 06:54PM

“Please support this

These police have to become a part of what they say they want to protect. No one should pay their salaries to live out of the community.”


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