Memphis City Council overrides mayor’s veto, keeps police residency referendum off ballots

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis City Council on Tuesday overrode a veto by Mayor Jim Strickland, meaning that a referendum on police residency will remain off Memphis ballots in November.

The referendum would have allowed Memphis Police officers to live up to 50 miles outside the city in an effort to boost police recruiting.

The measure, supported by Strickland and Police Director Michael Rallings, was up for a vote in November. But on Aug. 4, city council members Tuesday voted 7-6 to remove the question.

Strickland said in a letter to council Tuesday that he was vetoing the resolution to remove the question, saying it “strips the right of the citizens of Memphis to decide on issues of public safety and crime prevention.”

But City Council took up the issue the same day, overriding Strickland’s veto in a 7-6 vote and keeping the question off the ballot.

Council member Michalyn Easter-Thomas has previously said that recruiting Memphis Police officers from outside Memphis would push the city back economically, demographically and bureaucratically. 

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