Chart of the Day: Police In-City Residency by Race

Well, there was an interesting discussion on this week about resiency requirements for police officers. Minneapolis used to have a residency requirement until 1999. Today, they’re one of the lowest cities in the country in terms of percentage of police officers who live in the city. (at least, this is true for white officers.)

police residency chart

Here are some articles on residency requirements:

Article about residency req’s in Cleveland and Minneapolis

Governing Magazine article on residency requirements (focused on Detroit)

Stateline (Pew Trust) analysis of residency requirements as public policy


9 thoughts on “Chart of the Day: Police In-City Residency by Race

  1. Joe

    It’s true for all officers. The “Other” column is still 47th out of those 75 cities. Part of it might be that Minneapolis is smaller (size-wise) than other cities. But I agree that it is problematic.

  2. Kyle

    I know in Chicago that many police, fire, EMT and blue collar city employees live in the same neighborhoods of Norwood Park and Edison Park, just east of O’Hare. Is there a comparable neighborhood in Minneapolis or St. Paul that attracts city employees?

  3. Laurie

    The suburban folks who complain about LGA dollars going to Mpls and St Paul don’t complain when the well-paid city employees spend those salary dollars on suburban property taxes and supporting their businesses. The East Side of St. Paul used to be full of cops and firefighters. Now it seems like most of the SPFD lives in Wisconsin. And we’re building them a new bridge to get there faster. I think community would be stronger if these employees had to live in the neighborhoods they serve, send their kids to local schools, live with the results of the policies they set.

  4. Matt Brillhart

    Under 10% of Minneapolis police officers live in the city? Is that correct? Am I the only one who finds that extremely frustrating? Chicago has residency requirements, and other large cities have had them in the past, so it would seem to be constitutional. Is there a state law blocking Minneapolis or St. Paul from enacting residency requirements? The least we could do is require them to live in the same county for Pete’s sake, given our extremely fragmented and multi-jurisdictional metro area.

  5. Alex

    This stat is shocking for Minneapolis, and we should all be depressed that no politician has mentioned it recently. I make it a point to ask police officers who make the mistake of interacting with me where they live (I try to use white privilege for good as long as I have it), and I’ve actually had one tell me he wouldn’t live with the “subhuman” residents of Minneapolis.

  6. Anne

    I had recently heard about this (not recent) policy change from a coworker, but I had no idea the numbers were so disheartening.

    Looking at the chart, I’m also noticing how strongly the Mpls average is influenced by white officers. So the force is primarily white people who don’t even live in the city? A very high tech Wikipedia search is telling me that 60.3% of the population identified as white (non-Hispanic) on the 2010 census, but the graph above certainly doesn’t show equal representation on the police force.

    I wonder how this lack of representation, combined with the fact that the large majority of officers don’t live in the communities they’re supposed to protect, affects the way the enforce the law.

    Does anyone have an idea how these numbers compare to St. Paul? Pretty similar?

  7. Nick MagrinoNick Magrino

    There’s a state law restricting local governments from requiring that their employees live in the same city. While I personally don’t think that that type of requirement is a terrible idea, it would certainly be framed as an anti-labor move and get nowhere in the legislature. When I started my job at an unnamed local government (it rhymes with Indianapolis) I was pretty surprised by how many people don’t live in the city, and how many people actually live REALLY far away from the city.

    On one hand, I can understand why cops specifically may not want to live down the block from the people they’re policing, but on the other hand, maybe that would be a good idea. It’s certainly easy to imagine people (even good people! maybe even you!) getting into a certain “going to war” mindset after 20 years of listening to talk radio while driving from Anoka County to their precinct in Minneapolis.


    Subdivision 1.No exception for on-premises residence. Notwithstanding any
    contrary provision of other law, home rule charter, ordinance or
    resolution, no statutory or home rule charter city or county shall require
    that a person be a resident of the city or county as a condition of
    employment by the city or county except for positions which by their
    duties require the employee to live on the premises of the person’s place
    of employment.

    Subd. 2.Reasonable area or response time requirement. A statutory or home
    rule charter city or county, except if it is located in the area defined
    in section 473F.02, subdivision 2, may impose a reasonable area or
    response time residency requirement if there is a demonstrated,
    job-related necessity.

    Subd. 3.Volunteer or nonprofit firefighters. A statutory or home rule
    charter city or county may impose a reasonable residency requirement on
    persons employed as volunteers or as members of a nonprofit firefighting
    corporation if there is a demonstrated, job-related necessity. The
    residency requirement must be related to response time and established
    without regard to political subdivision boundaries.

    History: 1981 c 181 s 1; 1984 c 585 s 1; 1985 c 197 s 1

  8. Dan Berg

    Very disturbing indeed. I wonder if this is due in large part for Minneapolis’s apparent distain for true “middle-class” residents. Right now Minneapolis seems to support three very distinct classes of people. Wealthy professionals who can afford to live in the neighborhoods around the lakes, river or creek and typically work in a downtown office. The poor who, in part anyway, are supported by access to various services, transportation and a cultural critical mass. Finally the young professionals who are are either on a path to become the cities wealthy or many times a future life in the suburbs but like for a time being close to entertainment and other hip urban professionals.

    Minneapolis simply doesn’t provide a very competitive choice for those of us who don’t fall into the above groups. The schools are terrible, the taxes are outrageous, the infrastructure in poor shape and crime a persistent problem. If you can afford to buy your way in to the wealthy neighborhoods and avoid the majority of those issues, great, if not than Richfield, SLP and Bloomington become very attractive. Sure you can’t hop down to Town Hall Tap for diner and drinks but middle-class folk don’t have the income to do that often enough for it to be an important distinction. The final straw that drained Minneapolis of its middle class is that a lot of the jobs those people do have moved out of the city as well. Office parks spread throughout the region might not be dramatic but collectively they make a significant impact.

    There then becomes a feedback loop as middle-of-the-road citizens move out and the culture shifts. Minneapolis is controlled fully by one side of the political spectrum which means anybody who doesn’t fit that mode receives zero representation and is often a bit of a pariah within their own neighborhood. With high costs, and no benefits unless you belong to the dominant culture it shouldn’t be surprising that regular working class folk choose to live elsewhere.

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