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Reexamining Residency Requirements For Police Officers

By Batya Ungar-Sargon & Andrew Flowers

Residency requirements are hugely unpopular among police officers in Pittsburgh and in other cities with similar rules. Many cities and states have contested the constitutionality of these strictures on the grounds that they violate freedom of travel and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Even where they are in place, they are routinely flouted. Today, only 15 of America’s largest police departments have a strict residency requirement for police officers, and a majority of cops live outside the cities they serve.

Police officers gather near the U.N. building Sept. 24 in New York City. BRYAN THOMAS / GETTY IMAGES

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