Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Widening the Pool

At the last Common Council Police Committee meeting, which took place on April 24, there was a discussion about changing the residency requirement for Hudson police officers. Currently, officers are required to live within 15 road miles of the city limits of Hudson. According to Hudson lore, the parameter was established in 1992, when Mayor William Allen wanted to make William Deily the police commissioner, and Deily's home was exactly 15 road miles from Hudson. The changes discussed at the meeting were the possibility of changing the distance from 15 road miles to 15 linear miles or possibly increasing it to 20 linear miles from the city.

The motivation for altering the residency requirement is to enlarge the pool of people who could be hired by the Hudson Police Department. There will soon be openings on the force as a consequence of officers retiring. Chief Ed Moore told the committee, "It's a competitive market, and you want to get the best officers."

The discussion in the Police Committee concluded with Alderman Henry Haddad (Third Ward), who chairs the committee, saying he would "write up a resolution to change the distance to at least linear miles." It seemed the intention was simply to change 15 road miles to 15 linear miles, but at last night's informal Council meeting, a local law was presented that would amend §C20-3 of the city code to make the residency requirement for police officers "within the City of Hudson or within 20 linear miles of the closest city boundary." (The proposed law says §C20-3 of the charter, but it's actually §C20-3 of the code.) The map below shows a 20-mile radius from Hudson.

Haddad told his fellow aldermen that changing the parameters of the residency requirement "doubles the pool of people we can draw police officers from."


  1. I'm confused. Does a potential applicant have to live within the residency radius in order to apply? I can understand mandating residency if you're hired, but just to apply seems odd.

    1. The hiring process for the police department seems to be a bit different from what is familiar to most of us who have had private sector jobs. The department hires from a pool of people who have passed a civil service exam, and residency seems to be a factor that determines which candidates the HPD can pursue. Perhaps someone who knows more about the process than I will respond and explain further.

  2. To cast the widest net for potential candidates, we might want to debate the pros and cons of abolishing any residency requirement. Albany is only about 30 miles away, and the pool of applicants (including minorities) would expand exponentially if Albany residents were eligible to apply.

  3. In addition, it would be worthwhile to consider the possibility of having police officers patrol neighborhoods on foot now and then, rather than driving around in police cars all the time. It is hard for citizens to establish a personal connection with police officers if they rarely get out of their vehicles.

  4. One benefit of a residency requirement for police officers is a deeper connection to the community they serve. A police officer who lives and works in Hudson will be able to build more trust and rapport with the community than someone who commutes from Albany, not to mention better response time if they're on call from home.

  5. Mr. Kane's counterpoint to jhkunka's bits encapsulate the problem: it's a balancing act. We need a wide enough pool to find the best candidates but we also require community involvement and nothing accomplishes that like living in the community one polices. Among the issues the City faces in this regard, of course, is the high cost of living in Hudson v. the surrounding areas.

  6. I thought police officers came from far and wide to apply for a position in the HPD, not from a linear radius. The linear radius is where they can hang their hat once employed - which IS the problem as far as I am concerned. Those employed by the HPD do so by the graces of the Hudson Taxpayer - over 50% of our budget from what I hear. Therefore all employees of the HPD should be mandated to live IN the COMMUNITY that hires them to serve as their protectors. Its the dysfunction of allowing them to live elsewhere, then come into work like they are visiting the prison grounds they are in charge of. Live IN town and become part of this town - know your neighbors - understand and communicate with us - eye to eye. Only then can we truly be a community we can trust.

  7. Questions to consider:

    1) What is the starting salary for a police officer in Hudson? Is that salary sufficient to purchase affordable housing within the City of Hudson?

    2) Are any of the police officers in Hudson women or minorities? Diversity is important if we hope to achieve a good relationship between the community and the HPD.

  8. In this incredible shrinking city, Hudson's finest should be able to walk to work. Why has HPD grown so while population shrinks?

    Taxpayers could save on equipment and payroll (overtime) by merging HPD with the CC Sheriff, like Governor Cuomo keeps asking for.