MPD officers push for removal of residency requirement

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MPD officers push for removal of residency requirement

By the WTMJ News Team. CREATED Feb 22, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 22, 2012

MILWAUKEE- Milwaukee police officers have headed to Madison to ask state lawmakers to change the Police and Fire Department's residency rules.

"Residency is an archaic thought process," said Michael Crivello, the President of the Milwaukee Police Association.

It's a debate that has lasted for years.  City officials want officers to live within city limits, while officers want the option of being able to live beyond their borders.

Milwaukee is one of the few cities that still requires many of its public employees to live within city limits.

Former Police captain, now Milwaukee Alderman Robert Puente thinks it's vital for officers and firefighters to remain in the city.

"I can tell you that several times, when I was off duty, that I stopped incidents - crime," said Puente.

He also added that officers knew when they took the oath to protect and serve, they had to live in the city.

"Part of the condition of working for the City of Milwaukee was that I had to be a resident of the City of Milwaukee."

Mayor Tom Barrett says that if employees were not required to live in the city, they would flee in droves, turning Milwaukee into Detroit.

"In 1999, the state legislature in Michigan passed a law that eliminated the residency requirements.   12 years later, 53 percent of police officers of Detroit no longer live in that city," said Barrett.

The Milwaukee Police Association hopes lawmakers will take into account their study which, according to the MPA, shows there is no correlation between crime levels and the rules of residency involving police officers or firefighters.

They also claim the study shows that allowing them to live outside the city has nothing to do with property values.

"I don't believe firefighters and police officers would leave the city if you would in a mass exodus," said Crivello.

The residency rule also applies to teachers who work for Milwaukee Public Schools.