St. Louis Relaxes Police Residency Rule
By Matt Sepic, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis police board of commissioners voted 3-2 this morning to repeal the residency requirement that's been in place since 1973.
Officers on the force for at least seven years now have the option of moving within an hour's drive of the city.
Sergeant Ron Oldani is president of the St. Louis Police Officers' Association.
"Basically what this means that in 2012, people who start the academy this year will be able to plan ahead and move out," Oldani said. "Now that's seven years."
Community and civic leaders spoke out against the change. They say requiring cops to live in the city helps stabilize neighborhoods.
Mayor Francis Slay is a member of the police board. He fought against the rule change, but says many cops will probably stay.
"I'm certainly hopeful that there will not be the mass exodus of police officers that others fear," Slay said. "Because I've talked to a lot of police officers, and they enjoy living in the city of St. Louis, and more people are feeling the same way."
Police Chief Joe Mokwa is considering a number of incentives aimed at keeping officers in the city.