Philadelphia suspended lifted a rule that requires police recruits to have lived in the city for at least a year before applying, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The rule was adopted in 2020 in an attempt to diversify the ranks but has been lifted to respond to an officer shortage. The city reports that it is down about 900 officers, with 500 out on injury claims and 400 vacancies, amid a retirement surge.
“It’s basically like saying you can only play for the Phillies if you grew up in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. He said in a briefing on gun violence that the requirement has prevented the police department from recruiting the nation's "best and brightest". “It’s not the normal situation around the country.” It also applies to correctional officers, who have quit their jobs in droves following what some have called a safety crisis in jails.
Some police brass and union leaders say interest in becoming an officer declined after protests over police use of force and a perceived lack of support from elected officials. John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said the union opposed the residency requirement “from the beginning.”