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Council Reconsiders Residency Restrictions For First Responders

City leaders will take another look at residency restrictions for first responders in Orleans Parish.

Our Darian Trotter has more on the plan that will broaden the talent pool needed to hire more officers.

“I think it’s a great idea,” New Orleans resident John Beyer said.

There’s an overwhelming nod of public approval bout a plan that intended to place more New Orleans police officers on the streets.

Council President Jacquelyn Clarkson and Council member Susan Guidry have put together an ordinance to temporarily lift residency restrictions for first responders.

In other words, members of the New Orleans Police and Fire Departments, as well as other emergency workers will not be required to live in Orleans Parish.

The plan would remove limitations and broaden the talent pool.

In a statement Guidry said, “We simply cannot afford to exclude any potential first responders – especially police officers – right now, simply because of where they choose to live.”

The Fraternal Order of Police supports the idea, saying the old law needs to be permanently tossed out.

“No one calling 911 is asking where the officer is going home when he finished his shift. It’s stupid; we don’t need it,”  FOP President Raymond Burkhart said.

“If you want the best of the best to serve our citizens, then don’t limit the application pool by drawing lines in the sandbox,” FOP Vice President Christopher Landry said.

“I think they should live wherever they want,” New Orleans resident Janet Jones said.

Janet Jones’ husband was an officer in Orleans Parish.

She, like John Beyer thinks casting a wider net will help build a safer New Orleans.

“I actually know a lot of people in Jefferson parish that would probably sign up immediately,” Beyer said.

“You’re not going to find qualified police officers, not as many as you need if they have to live in the city,” Jones said.

“For them to be able to serve the city and still live someplace that is maybe a little less expensive or has better schools or whatever; I think everybody wins,”  Beyer said.

The plan will be executed on a one-year trial basis, for first responders only and does not include other city employees.

An evaluation will be conducted at the end of the trial period, to consider possible changes to the policy.