It’s a sad state of affairs when community servants are “vehemently opposed” to living in the communities they serve. That is nevertheless the case for policemen and firefighters, who consider it a huge win that Christie vetoed the residency requirement bill A4265 that passed both State Senate and Assembly this summer. The bill calls for new hires to live in the town they serve, “for the first 5 years on the job.” The NJ Fraternal Order of Police website states:
Both the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police and the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey vehemently opposed the (bills to require residency in the towns their members serve).
NJFOP President Robert W. Fox is thrilled that the bills did not become law. Fox noted, “Our brothers and sisters have been demoralized so much over the past six years and needed a win of this magnitude.”
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka offered this response to Christies action on 11 November 2015:
With all of the discussion and grandstanding by the Governor around Black Lives Matter and proposed crime reduction strategies, it would seem that support for a bill which requires police officers to live in the communities that they police would be an easy task for him. Instead, the Governor chose to veto a bill which is policy in many cities around the country.
The bill is permissive, meaning that New Jersey cities that do not want to enact it would not be bound to do so. But for cities like Newark, it would allow us to keep our officers in our communities for at least 5 years.
This bill would help us to lift our tax base and put a large number of the peoples’ money back into the community. It would also help us to strengthen neighborhoods and offers the ultimate form of community policing.
Police officers living on neighborhood blocks makes that block safer. It also reinforces the message that if Newark is good enough to work in, it’s good enough to live in.
This is common sense legislation that (would help) not just Newark but many cities across our great state.
Amen, Mayor Baraka.