According to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the city’s 35,000 uniformed officers should be required to live in one of the five boroughs; during a press conference Monday, he argued that allowing anything else “makes no sense.”
“There’s no such thing as being off duty, so technically, if you see a crime and you don’t take action as a police officer, you could be held accountable for that,” Adams explained to those gathered.
“So, why are we using our tax dollars to pay for an officer to be here for eight hours and then 16 hours he’s going to one of our five neighboring counties and protecting them?” he asked.
He then added, “That makes no sense.…You are paying for other counties to be safe.”
(Relevant portion begins at 24:30 mark)
Adams made these remarks just after announcing anti-gun-violence initiatives — like undercover police “Neighborhood Safety Teams,” whose members will travel in unmarked vehicles and will wear street clothes but will also be easily recognized to be cops, and increased staffing for the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division — which will increase the size of the NYPD by as much as 400, with Adams acknowledging that the ultimate decision on hiring will be made by Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who was not present for the press conference.
Adams continued: “I want you [the officers] to go to the cleaners. I want you to go to the churches and to the supermarket, your children should be in our schools. We shouldn’t have 30 something percent of officers residing [outside of our city].”
The mayor indicated that he favored imposing a residency requirement on newly-hired cops and that Commissioner Sewell was developing a program to encourage current members of the force to move into the city. As it stands today, NYPD officers must be residents of New York State but can choose to live in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam or Orange counties instead of in New York City, the New York Post noted.
In response to Adams’ comments, a spokesman for the NYPD’s largest union, the Police Benevolent Association, told the New York Post: “We can’t talk about residency without talking about police officers’ pay and the cost of living in this city.”
The website for the NYPD indicates that the starting salary for a police officer is $42,500 before overtime. After five and a half years, it would jump to $85,292.
According to one source, the average cost of living for a single person in the Big Apple today is over $1,300 a month before rent; additionally, the average one-bedroom rental in NYC can cost an average of $2,200 to 3,000 a month, depending on location.
Those numbers might explain why 30% of current NYPD officers have chosen to live outside the city.
While Adams may want to insist on what seems to him to be a common-sense approach to law enforcement, completion of this goal is out of his hands. According to the Post, only state lawmakers can tweak Section 3 of the state’s Public Officers Law that requires New York City law enforcement to live within 30 miles of the city; the requirement that uniformed officers live in one of the five boroughs was removed more than 50 years ago.
While many agreed with the idea in theory, Twitter users had some thoughts:
If he truly believes cops need to be working to protect NYC on their 16 hours off, their overtime is going to be astronomical. I guess it is a way for them to afford to live in the city but why would they want to bring their families into harm’s way?
— KelleyMac (@KelleyMac1) January 25, 2022
First it’s defund police and now you want them to live in city so they can protect the community on there days off
— John (@sandbetweentoe) January 25, 2022
He’s right, it makes no sense. They along with other first responders should have been paid more a long time ago to avoid them from moving out of NYC, to places they can afford. Just like other New Yorkers, the cost of living here, is a challenge for their families.
— Johana G (@GreJohana) January 25, 2022
Of course they don’t want to live there , they know it’s not safe !
— JMH (@jheaton1902) January 25, 2022
The voters don’t have to live there so why should the police? It’s a free for all!
— Keeping Up (@Keeping06074630) January 25, 2022
Held to a higher standard, and crucified when they make a mistake. Politicians need to make up their minds. I used to agreed that they should live in the city, but the way the were treated during the Floyd riots I changed my mind.
— angel (@Angelny1Angel) January 25, 2022
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