Bill banning residency requirements for Tennessee first responders passes state Senate

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Senate approved proposed legislation that would ban residency requirements for first responders.

The measure, which is sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown, passed 26 to 6 in the Senate. According to the state legislature, it has not made it out of commmittee in the House.

If passed, the bill would ban residency requirements like the one for Memphis Police that requires all officers hired after 2011 to be Shelby County residents. Kelsey said the bill will allow these departments to recruit the best in a time when many, such as Memphis, are struggling to meet hiring goals.

“This is a public safety bill. It will enable us to hire more police officers, which will help us fight our rising crime rates,” said Kelsey. “This bill will support our police and fire officers who keep us safe by allowing them to live where they choose.”

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings and the Memphis Police and Memphis Fire unions have voiced support for the measure, which they say could help boost the ranks of the Memphis Police Department. But some Memphis City Council members have argued that police officers should live in the community they serve.

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