Philadelphia waives residency requirement for police and prison guards amid staffing shortages, mayor’s office says

Mayor Jim Kenney requested a waiver to lift the residency rule, which was first adopted in 2020 and was intended to diversify recruiting for the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Corrections, citing high vacancies for the positions, se read in the statement. Lifting the rule, Kenney said, will allow departments to broaden their potential pool of applicants.

“The two-year measure, offered as a vehicle to help boost diversity within the city’s police force, has been a stumbling block in addressing critical staffing shortages within the Philadelphia Police and Prison Departments,” he said. Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green in a statement. Thursday statement.

Low salaries for police officers also play a role in the difficulty of finding new recruits, Green added.

“While I appreciate Mayor Kenney’s attention to the residency issue, officers’ starting salaries are below the national average and this pay gap is the other main reason, according to Commissioner (Danielle) Outlaw, why we are struggling.” to hire new officers,” he said. saying.

The Lodge 5 Fraternal Order of Police police union opposed the residency requirement from the start and said it hopes the removal will help with recruiting efforts.

“Everyone is ready to deal with an increase in violence and we have to do everything in our power to recruit the best and brightest to serve in our police department, whether they live inside or outside of our great city.” Lodge said. Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said in a statement.

The Philadelphia Civil Service Commission, which granted the waiver on Friday, does not have an official end date, but the mayor’s office said it will continue to evaluate whether the waiver is necessary.

Major metro areas find new ways to recruit

The Philadelphia residency exemption comes as police departments across the country have looked for ways to attract more recruits. Covid-related staffing shortages and a national and local reckoning over the role of policing have driven potential new police officers away from the profession, the departments said.
After Chicago Police announced the department would waive the college credit requirement for some recruits, 400 candidates applied that same day and the department has seen steady increases in applicants since then, the Chicago Police Superintendent said last month. Chicago, David Brown.

The department’s attrition rate more than doubled, from 4% in 2020 to 8.5% in 2021, according to Brown.

“So the recovery is really about getting the pool of applicants much broader, much more experienced, and more importantly, much more diverse as we fill our openings,” he said.

While residency requirements are about to go away in Philadelphia, other cities are looking to institute similar policies. Earlier this year, New York Mayor Eric Adams supported the addition of residency requirements for the city’s police department after unveiling his “Plan to End Gun Violence.”

“I want you here in this city,” Adams said in January. “I want them to go to the dry cleaners. I want them to go to churches to the grocery store, their kids should be in our schools. We shouldn’t have 30-something percent of officers residing (out of town).”

CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Emma Tucker, Peter Nickeas and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment