House passes Kelsey bill to hire police
and fire outside county lines

Today, the Tennessee State House of Representatives voted to approve Senate Bill 29, which would allow first responders to live where they choose. The measure, sponsored by State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), would ban residency requirements for police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services workers. Senators Kelsey won approval of the bill last March in the Tennessee Senate. The Senate version of the legislation applies statewide, while the House version only applies to Memphis. These two versions will now go through a reconciliation process that could take place as early as one week from today.

“With this law, Memphis could quickly hire a multitude of new police officers.” said Kelsey.  The Memphis Police Department is over 500 officers short of the staffing goal set by the Memphis City Council.

Kelsey, who first introduced legislation on this matter in 2008, continued “This bill will support our police, fire officers, and emergency medical service workers who keep us safe by allowing them to live where they choose. This solution will increase public safety and help us fight our rising crime rates.”

In 2021, the city of Memphis recorded a record-breaking 346 homicides. At least 31 of these victims were under 18, with homicide claiming more lives of children in Shelby County than the COVID-19 pandemic.