Adams says it ‘makes no sense’ cops aren’t required to live in NYC, claims ‘no such thing as being off duty’

According to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the city’s 35,000 uniformed officers should be required to live in one of the five boroughs; during a press conference Monday, he argued that allowing anything else “makes no sense.”

“There’s no such thing as being off duty, so technically, if you see a crime and you don’t take action as a police officer, you could be held accountable for that,” Adams explained to those gathered.

“So, why are we using our tax dollars to pay for an officer to be here for eight hours and then 16 hours he’s going to one of our five neighboring counties and protecting them?” he asked.

He then added, “That makes no sense.…You are paying for other counties to be safe.”

(Relevant portion begins at 24:30 mark)


(Video: Forbes)

Adams made these remarks just after announcing anti-gun-violence initiatives — like undercover police “Neighborhood Safety Teams,” whose members will travel in unmarked vehicles and will wear street clothes but will also be easily recognized to be cops, and increased staffing for the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division — which will increase the size of the NYPD by as much as 400, with Adams acknowledging that the ultimate decision on hiring will be made by Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who was not present for the press conference.

Adams continued: “I want you [the officers] to go to the cleaners. I want you to go to the churches and to the supermarket, your children should be in our schools. We shouldn’t have 30 something percent of officers residing [outside of our city].”

The mayor indicated that he favored imposing a residency requirement on newly-hired cops and that Commissioner Sewell was developing a program to encourage current members of the force to move into the city. As it stands today, NYPD officers must be residents of New York State but can choose to live in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam or Orange counties instead of in New York City, the New York Post noted.

In response to Adams’ comments, a spokesman for the NYPD’s largest union, the Police Benevolent Association, told the New York Post: “We can’t talk about residency without talking about police officers’ pay and the cost of living in this city.”

The website for the NYPD indicates that the starting salary for a police officer is $42,500 before overtime. After five and a half years, it would jump to $85,292.

According to one source, the average cost of living for a single person in the Big Apple today is over $1,300 a month before rent; additionally, the average one-bedroom rental in NYC can cost an average of $2,200 to 3,000 a month, depending on location.

Those numbers might explain why 30% of current NYPD officers have chosen to live outside the city.

While Adams may want to insist on what seems to him to be a common-sense approach to law enforcement, completion of this goal is out of his hands. According to the Post, only state lawmakers can tweak Section 3 of the state’s Public Officers Law that requires New York City law enforcement to live within 30 miles of the city; the requirement that uniformed officers live in one of the five boroughs was removed more than 50 years ago.

While many agreed with the idea in theory, Twitter users had some thoughts:

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