Memphis may consider changing police residency requirements

Memphis community walks for peace

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Should Memphis police officers be allowed to live outside the city limits?

Voters may get to decide that next year.

On Tuesday, the Memphis City Council will begin considering putting a referendum on the ballot in 2020 that, if approved, would allow public safety employees to live within a two-hour drive of Memphis.

Currently, Memphis police officers and firefighters must live within the city limits.

Memphis Mayor Strickland says changing the residency requirements will increase the pool of police candidates.

Strickland said Councilwoman Gerrie Currie and Councilman Ford Canale are sponsoring the ordinance, which will be introduced in the city council's public safety and homeland security committee.

“By expanding our residency requirements, we’re increasing the pool of likely candidates, and in turn, increasing our chances of putting more officers on the streets to keep you and your families safe,” Strickland said in his weekly email update. “We’ve been making significant strides over the last two years on our recruitment and hiring, and that’s great. But we need to do more. This will allow us to do just that.”

Jennette Addison knows the heartache of losing a child to gun violence in Memphis.

Her daughter, Choosey Parker, a peace activist and musician, died after being shot outside a local nightclub last year.

The pain is still unbearable for her at times.

"Once you fire that gun, that blood stain is on your hand for life," said Addison. "I got God to help me through all of this."

Stevie Moore lost his son to violence.

He says more police in Memphis will help, but it can't be police alone.

"More police gone help us solve the problems, but the community got to stop the problem from happening," Moore said.

Moore founded Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (F.F.U.N.), which works to reduce violence in Memphis.

Moore and Addison joined other community activists for a peace walk and family day event on Saturday at the McFarland Community Center.

The groups hope by coming together, they can spare others the pain too many carry every day.

"It takes all hands to do this, not just the police, not just the church, not just the moms but all of us can do something," said Student Minister Anthony Muhammad with the Nation of Islam, an organizer of the event.

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