TRENTON – Today the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police and the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey IAFF, AFL-CIO-CLC held a press conference at 11 am at the NJFOP Trenton Headquarters to urge Governor Chris Christie to veto legislation permitting municipalities, county governments, and regional divisions to establish residency requirements for police and firefighters.

PFANJ Pres. Dominick Marino (left) NJFOP Pres. Bob Fox (center), National Vice Pres. Ed Brannigan (right)

PFANJ Pres. Dominick Marino (left) NJFOP Pres. Bob Fox (center), National Vice Pres. Ed Brannigan (right)

NJFOP President Robert W. Fox pointed out, “Even though this bill is permissive, it gives towns and counties the right to control their police officers or firefighters’ residency for their first five years of employment.”

Fox continued, “We strongly believe recruitment in towns that adopt a residency requirement will be negatively impacted because the pool of candidates in those towns will be severely limited.”

PFANJ President Dominick Marino noted, “Currently when police officers or firefighters are hired, they are required to reside in the jurisdiction for one year. Once they have completed their one year probation, they are allowed to move to any location within the borders of New Jersey.”

“I have been speaking to several prospective firefighter candidates,” said Marino. “They are extremely despondent about provisions in this bill. Residency requirements have nothing to do with quality of an applicant. The purpose of testing is to get the best qualified candidate.”

Marino went on to say, “Forcing someone where they must live doesn’t necessarily promote community involvement which the bill purports to do.”

Also, attending the press conference was former NJFOP President and current National Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Ed Brannigan.

Brannigan was adamant in his comments, “This is bad legislation and legislators know it’s bad legislation. We even question its constitutionality if signed into law and implemented by towns or counties.”

“Over the past decades, police officers have been attacked on many fronts: their pensions, benefits, and salaries,” continued Brannigan. “Sometimes we don’t even know who the good guys are anymore. Provisions in this bill add insult to injury. Legislation such as this could endanger the safety of police officers and their families if they are mandated to live in communities where they work.”

Fox concluded, “As I was driving down the highway, I noticed a sign that said, ‘Drink and Drive and lose your freedom.’ This bill says, ‘Become a police officer and lose your freedom.’ The decision where someone lives is a personal decision and should never be mandated by government. We urge the Governor to veto this bill.”