A majority of New Orleans residents disagree with the city’s rule requiring police officers and other employees to live in Orleans Parish, says a poll commissioned by the New Orleans Police Foundation. The New Orleans Times-Picayune says the data are surfacing as the City Council prepares to convene a “crime summit” Monday that will focus on ways to make the city safer. The residency rule is expected to be a focal point of the discussions.
Proponents of dumping the rule hailed the survey as the best evidence yet that public support for the policy has eroded. While the rule is designed to ensure that city employees are community stakeholders, and thus more sensitive to the population they serve, the debate has taken on racial overtones, with white people tending to oppose the rule and black people tending to support it. The new poll surveyed 400 residents, 55 percent of whom said they disagree with the domicile policy. Forty-one percent said they agree with the rule. A clear majority, 59 percent, believe crime is on the upswing.