Mayor Jim Kenney requested a waiver to lift the residency rule — which was first adopted in 2020 and aimed to diversify recruits for the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Prisons — citing high vacancies for positions, the statement reads. Lifting the rule, Kenney said, will enable departments to broaden their potential pool of applicants.
Low police officer salaries also play a part in the difficulty of finding new recruits, Green added.
“While I appreciate Mayor Kenney’s attention to the residency issue, officers’ starting salaries are below the national average and this pay gap is the other major reason, according to Commissioner (Danielle) Outlaw, that we are having difficulty hiring new officers,” he said.
Police union Lodge 5 Fraternal Order of Police opposed the residency requirement from the beginning and said it hopes the removal will help with recruitment efforts.
“It’s all-hands, on-deck to solve an uptick in violence and we need to do everything in our power to recruit the best and brightest to serve in our police department, whether they live in or outside of our great city,” Lodge 5 Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said in a statement.
The Philadelphia Civil Service Commission, which granted the waiver Friday, does not have an official end date, but the mayor’s office said it will continue to assess whether the waiver is necessary.
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The department’s attrition rate more than doubled from 4% in 2020 to 8.5% in 2021, according to Brown.
“So the catch up is really about getting the applicant pool much wider, much more experienced, and more importantly, much more diverse as we fill our vacancies,” he said.
“I want you here in this city,” Adams said in January. “I want you to go to the cleaners. I want you to go to the churches to the supermarket, your children should be in our schools. We shouldn’t have 30 something percent of officers residing (outside of the city.)”
CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Emma Tucker, Peter Nickeas and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.