It has been a battle the Utica Police PBA has been fighting for years and Wednesday night the Utica Common Council passed a law that made it all worth while.

Before the passage of Wednesday’s Residency Rule Change officers in the union would have to maintain residency in Utica for the entirety of their career. Now, the options for officers are expanded.

There were several reasons why the PBA wanted the changes made. They had several concerns about the old rules, including but not limited to recruiting.

Sgt. Mike Curley is the Utica PBA Vice President. He joined ‘First News with Keeler in the Morning’ Thursday morning to discuss the council’s vote.

Curley says “We are certainly pleased with the outcome, but it’s not a time to gloat.” He said, "We’re happy with regards to recruitment and retainment but we still have a job to do.”

Several argue for officers being required to maintain residency and one of them is to assure officers have skin in the game on the streets they patrol. Curley responded by saying, "If an officer arrives on a call, do you care where he lives? It doesn’t affect the job they do." He said, “By their own admission officers in the past have cited the reason for leaving the department was the residency rule.”

In the new law passed by the Common Council Utica Police officers are now required to maintain 5 consecutive years of residency and then the requirement is lifted. Prior to this law being passed, if an officer was found to not be living in the city limits, they would be brought up on charges and terminated.

Curley maintains he understands critics of the law, but he feels this is a move in the right direction for the future of the department.

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