Police Officers Moving to a House Near You
AUSTIN, TX – We all want to feel safe in our homes. We lock our doors at night, some of us even have security systems installed. How safe would we feel if we had a police officer living right next door?
The city of Austin believes that having police officers living in the city would benefit residents, and they are going so far as to offer possible incentives to officers who are willing to move out of the suburbs and into the city.
According to Council Member Kathie Tovo, the group is hoping to draft a resolution that would give officers moving into the city moving expense, monthly stipends for home ownership, or a month of free rent in an apartment. The program, if it passes council, will be an optional one for police officers. Council thinks that moving to the city would allow officers to better understand the areas that they protect.
Currently, only 27 percent of the officers in the city’s department live in city limits. Proponents of having police officers living in the city feel as though it would give officers an opportunity to participate in civic events, provide quicker response times, and enhance public safety. Opponents, including union representatives, say that housing options outside of the city are more affordable. School systems outside of Austin may be considered of better quality and, in turn, more beneficial to officers’ children. Whether or not the policy passes, council is quick to reiterate that no officer will be forced to live in the city as a contingency for maintaining employment. At this time, living in the city would be strongly encouraged and strictly up to the individual officer and his or her family. Whether or not additional benefits will be offered will be detailed in a draft of the policy, set to be tentatively released in December.