NEWARK - New recruits for Newark’s police and fire departments may soon have to live in the city they protect.
Mayor Ras Baraka has proposed a residency law that would require new recruits for the departments to live in Newark for five years. The proposal would need state approval, and it was passed by the state Assembly Judiciary Committee this week.
In a statement, Mayor Baraka says, “By making our new police officers and firefighters part of the community for the first years of their service here, they will be active partners in our efforts to transform Newark into a city we can all believe in."
However, not everyone agrees with the potential residency law. Newark Fraternal Order or Police President James Stewart says the new law could not only fracture families, it could also be dangerous.
"I don't think we're nearly at a point where officers who make a lawful arrest today would feel safe going home and people know they live down the block,” he says.
Currently, new recruits are required to live in Newark only during their first year on the job.
The next step is for the proposal to go in front of the full Assembly and Senate for discussion. Stewart says the police union vows to fight every step of the way.