“What do they know, they don’t live here!” says every supporter ever of residency requirements for police officers and firefighters.
I didn’t live within city limits when I was employed as a firefighter, but within a year I knew more about the place than most of the people who do. I knew more about the folks who live and work there than I have ever known about the people who live right next door to me. I was in their homes, their businesses, on the streets where they crashed their cars, the fields where their kids broke their bones, the schools where they learned about life and the places of worship where they learned about tolerance and love for their fellow man.
The city’s police and firefighters know the city, feel the pulse, hear the noise, taste the blood and do our best to keep ALL sections of the city safe, not just our own backyard. Just because we choose to live elsewhere does not mean we don’t understand what goes on in the city. The argument for a residency requirement for public safety personnel based on the misconception that the city’s police officers and firefighters are mercenaries who swoop into the city for forty hours a week then leave with their pockets full of taxpayer money is absolute nonsense.
Forcing a person to live within the city limits is not a very neighborly way to live. Using the smokescreen that police and firefighters don’t understand the needs of the citizenry to mask the true reason for residency requirements – votes and taxes is obscene.