Summary of the Committee Version of the Bill


CO-SPONSORS:  Jackson, Portwood, Smith (14), Cunningham (86),
Lembke (85), Bivins, Icet, Hanaway, Salva, Avery, Stefanick

COMMITTEE ACTION:  Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Crime
Prevention and Public Safety by a vote of 14 to 3.

This bill prohibits the City of St. Louis from requiring that
peace officers reside within the limits of the city and prohibits
discrimination against any non-resident peace officers.  The city
may require a peace officer to reside in the State of Missouri as
a condition of employment.  The city may provide incentives, such
as housing supplements or vehicle-use guidelines, to encourage
peace officers to locate within the city, but may not authorize
the use of department property as an incentive.

FISCAL NOTE:  No impact on state funds.

PROPONENTS:  Supporters say that the city keeps losing many of
its best and brightest officers every year, because the officers
want to reside in areas with better schools and, generally, more
attractive neighborhoods.  In exit interviews of the officers
that left in the year 2000, 80% cited the residency requirement
as the main reason.  Many officers join the force when they are
young adults, without a family.  Years later, when they have
children of school-age, they start looking for a good school
district, and many will leave the city.  Even officers with
family members that have special needs cannot get an exemption
from the residency requirement, and they typically are forced to
leave the city.  The idea that the city should be able to tell
anyone where they have to live is just bad policy.

Testifying for the bill were Representative Jackson; St. Louis
Police Officers Association; St. Louis Police Leadership
Organization; Kansas City Police Officers Association; and Jim

OPPONENTS:  Those who oppose the bill say that this is an issue
of governance (i.e., who should make these types of decisions?).
The state seized control of the St. Louis Police Department more
than 100 years ago, and since that time has chosen to delegate
the authority to oversee the department to the St. Louis Board of
Police Commissioners.  The board created the residency
requirement in 1973 and would do away with it if it wasn't
necessary.  Sixty officers left the department in the year 2000,
stating the residency requirement as a factor in their decision.
Considering the size of the department, that is not a "mass
exodus" of police officers.  Further, a straw vote taken a few
years ago showed that 70% of the city residents approve of the

Testifying against the bill were Office of the Mayor, City of St.
Louis; St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners; and
Representative Jones.

Other witnesses testifying on the bill was City of Kansas City.

Richard Smreker, Senior Legislative Analyst

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Missouri House of Representatives
Last Updated July 25, 2003 at 10:12 am