Camden raises residency requirements

    Lawmakers in one of the country’s most dangerous cities want police and fire department jobs to go to long-time residents.

    Lawmakers in one of the country’s most dangerous cities want police and fire department jobs to go to long-time residents. Camden’s city council has voted Tuesday to require applicants to live in the city for three years before they take the civil service exam. The current residency requirement is one year.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090729lfcamden.mp3]

    Councilman Whip Wilson sponsored the legislation. He also served as a Camden police officer for 26 years. Wilson says Camden police officers need to know the city,

    Wilson: We’ve been listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Now if I’m not from this area and I become a police officer in Camden city, I have a different attitude toward the residents. The attitude I probably would share is that all people in Camden are criminals, because I’m in a dangerous city. When people from Camden become police officers or fire fighters, they know that’s not true.

    The ordinance could still be vetoed by state-appointed chief operating officer Theodore Davis, who has proposed eliminating residency requirements entirely.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.