Police sue over new residency rule
For decades, all city employees, with few exceptions, had to live within Milwaukee boundaries. In 2013, the state Legislature passed a law that undid all such strict residency requirements but did allow for cities to require certain employees, including police and firefighters, to live within 15 miles of city limits. Milwaukee did not adopt a new rule but instead continued to enforce its longtime rule of residency within city boundaries.
The police union sued. One judge agreed the city requirement had been eliminated by the state law, but the Court of Appeals reversed and sided with the city's right to make employees live in the city.
But ultimately, in June, the state Supreme Court sided with the Legislature and the police that the state law blocked the city's historic residency requirements.
Only in July, in light of that court ruling, did the city adopt a new rule under the state law setting the 15-mile limit for police and firefighters.We can trace some of the problems which recently came to a head in Milwaukee to this entitled, unaccountable attitude of the Milwaukee Police Department. Law enforcement used to be part of the community and know their neighbors. Now they just want a paycheck from the community but to live in some exurb.
How can the police really serve and protect a population and community that they want nothing to do with? 15 miles isn't enough of a buffer?
An "occupying force," as Mayor Barrett phrased it, does not produce trust and respect. What else can a group of armed enforcers be called? Paid mercenaries patrolling a neighborhood during their well-paid shift, only to return to their home many miles away and, often, worlds apart.