Council Approves Residency Change for Police

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The City Council broke a months-long stalemate Tuesday by voting 8-5 in favor of permitting non-Shelby Countians to join the city's police force.

The vote, which saw Harold Collins, chairman of an ad hoc committee studying the issue, and council colleague Janis Fullilove reverse their prior opposition, followed the committee's presentation of its findings earlier in the day.

The revised regulations will permit new police applicats to live within a 20-mile perimeter beyond the Shelby County line if they pay an annual fee of $1,400 and apply before December 31, 2009.

Police director Larry Godwin had told council members the department currently has about 2,100 applicants, due in part to a large marketing campaign, but the department also loses about 100 officers each year to attrition.

"After the marketing campaign is over, the applicants will diminish," said Collins at the earlier presentation. "We're trying to provide enough applicants going forward over the next three years."

Some council members objected to the resolution because a similar provision went before the full council two months ago.

"To bring it back before us, simply because an ad hoc committee decided to, is very disappointing," said councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware. "In our rules of procedure, once a matter has been approved or rejected at one meeting, any such item may not be placed on the agenda ... for consideration before six months after the original consideration of the matter."

To read more, visit Mary Cashiola's In the Bluff blog.

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