Syracuse lawmakers approve police contract, but with concerns

Sep 11, 2018

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday approved the latest contract between the city and police department, but it was not without some concerns.

Lawmakers voted 7-2 to approve a contract for 2016 and 2017 that include two-percent raises each year. But while they agreed on this pact, many lawmakers have eyes on the next contract, which is being negotiated now. 

Among other things, some legislators believe there should be a residency requirement for new hires for the police department. Councilor Tim Rudd voted no, in part because he believes new officers should be required to live in the city for a certain amount of time.

"Nothing I would rather have than an officer living in the community, being a full-time member of the community," said Rudd. I think that's what everybody in the city wants. We want officers earning a fair wage, living well, thriving professionally and personally, but we want them in our community."

Currently, 95 percent of police officers live outside the city. The Syracuse police union is against a residency requirement, but Rudd said a residency requirement is part of the city's agreement with firefighters.

"For the same two percent pay raises we’re giving to police for 2016-17, we gave to fire and they gave five year residency restrictions to new hires," he said. "There’s just not that type of concession in this agreement, and I think there should be."

Councilor Steve Thompson who voted for the contract, and is a former police chief, says he can’t see officers saying they don’t want to live in the city they police. 

"There’s an opportunity in this next negotiation to put it on the table, and then let's see what happens," said Thompson.