City council takes up domicile rule for first responders

New Orleans, La. - The city council's Criminal Justice Committee met Friday morning regarding the proposed suspension of the city's residency rule for first responders.

The ordinance would remove the residency requirement for police, fire, and EMS workers for a year.

Some council members say all hindrances to hiring need to be removed, especially when it comes to the NOPD.

Despite the city's violent crime problem, the police chief says he doesn't have enough officers. Chief Serpas wants 1575 officers, but according to a letter he sent to the city council, he only has 1207 officers.

Council president Jackie Clarkson is one of the sponsors of the ordinance to suspend the domicile rule. She says with the mayor hoping to fund five classes of police trainees, recruitment would be well served by removing the residency rule.

Chief Serpas wasn't in attendance, but said in the letter he sent to the council that lifting the domicile rule would provide him a larger pool of applicants and help the department officers from other jurisdictions who wouldn't need as much training.

The council is set to vote on this issue next Thursday.