Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update


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Earlier this week, the City Council delayed voting on a referendum that would have created a requirement that all new city employees live within the city limits. I’m against such a requirement, and I thought this week’s consideration of it would be a good jumping-off point to update you on a few things.

First, about the residency requirement itself: While I understand it could look appealing on paper, the practical effects to public safety would be costly. At a time in which we’re working hard on recruiting more officers to our police force, the last thing we need is another hurdle. That’s what the residency requirement would provide.

Instead, my administration is committed to encouraging new officers -- and new fire fighters and new non-public safety employees, too -- to live inside the city limits by making it attractive to do so. We’re also offering up to a $10,000 down payment assistance program for public safety officers to live inside the city. So while we think a mandate was a bad idea, we definitely agree that we want to do all we can to have a workforce that lives inside the city.

And about that police officer recruitment goal of mine. As of this week, our police force hovered at just over 2,000 officers. That’s down from its peak in November 2011, when we had 2,452 officers.

I won’t try to soften things: The number of officers we have is a challenge for our police department. While we’re able to ensure public safety -- the data shows serious crimes are flat year to date as compared to 2015, even with fewer officers -- we must also realize where we need to be in the long run.

That’s why we’re not sitting idly by. You’ve seen the ads for our “Join the Best in Blue” campaign, which will keep airing. If you’re interested in a law enforcement career or know someone who is, visit for the particulars.

We have 24 trainees in the current police academy class, which ends next month. We have applicants being considered for the next class, which starts in September and ends in February. And we’re open for applications for the class after that, which starts in March and ends next August.

Interim Director Michael Rallings and his staff are doing tremendous work continuing the tradition of a stellar police department, even with the current numbers. I know they will continue to do so. But we must build the force back up, and I just wanted to update you today about where that stands.

Also this week: No matter where you come down on the Greensward issue, I hope you’ll take note of what happened at City Hall this week: Both sides gave, the council was involved, and common ground was reached.

Not bad, right? Working together to achieve consensus is how we need to work on all of our city’s issue moving forward.

Learn more: You probably know by now that we value transparency. To that end, we’ve posted all of the materials on the recommended candidates for police director on our website. I hope you’ll spend some time with those materials to learn more about the recommended candidates.

Taking a break: We won’t have a weekly email next week. It’ll resume on Friday, Aug. 5.


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