Casting a wider net: McP Police Dept. changes residency rules
The McPherson Police Department has had four openings for officers that have sat open for months — since September of 2020 to be exact.
Those positions are not open because no one is trying to fill the. In fact, it is just the opposite.
"We cannot stay down four officers many more months. We have to do something to help recruiting," said Mayor Tom Brown.
Golden has an idea of way to cast his net a little wider. Based on reading of the Governor's Commission on Racial Equity and Justice, he asked the city commission n is to expand residency requirements to communities and demographics which may not have an opportunity locally.
"I know we would want our officers to be invested in our community, which they all are, and be close for immediate response in case of emergencies," Golden said.
However, the residency requirments currently in place are making it harder to recuit. Recently an officer wanted to live in Hesston — their spouse works in Wichita and the small town in Harvey County was a spot about halfway inbetween the couple's jobs.
That, however, does not work under currrent residency requirements of 15 miles.
"I would like to extend the residency requirement for the McPherson Police Department officers and staff to 35 miles," Golden said. "This change would give the Police Department a more fair opportunity in recruiting efforts and would assist us in recruiting and retention of officers and staff."
A 35-mile residency will allow officers and staff to reside in Hutchinson, Salina, Lyons, Hillsboro, and Newton. These officers will be responsible to respond when called in for work, training, and special assignments.
"I understand working in Law Enforcement is a difficult career choice, and we should help our officers and staff with their requests, and that of their families," Golden said. "I spoke with Sheriff [Jerry] Montagne who stated his office will always help us anytime we request their assistance."
The city commission took up the matter Feb. 7 after first looking at the idea in study session one week prior.
"If we do this, nothing is every cast in stone. If we have a problem with it, we can always go back," Brown said "My fight now is that the police department is the only department wehre we have this problem. I don't see us going to this across the board."
The commission voted to make the change, effective March 1.
According to the department, area departments currently have the following residence requirements:
Salina PD, allows their Officers to reside within 40 minutes, which allows them to live in McPherson. (115 Officers)
Newton PD, allows their Officers to reside within 40 miles, which allows them to live in McPherson. (40 Officers)
Great Bend PD, allows PD, EMS, and Fire to reside within 30 minutes (33 Officers)
Andover PD, No residency requirement (26 Officers)
El Dorado PD, allows their Officers to reside within 30 minutes of city limits (28 Officers)
Ottawa PD, allows their Officers to reside within 35 miles of city hall (30 Officers)
Hutchinson PD, No residency requirement (69 Officers)
McPherson PD, allows their Officers to reside within a 15-Mile radius (35 Officers) (Requirement changes March 1)