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Ruling Nixes Pittsburgh Police Residency Rule

A labor arbitrator has ruled Pittsburgh police don't have to live in the city, instead requiring only that they live within a 25-mile radius of the City-County Building downtown.

Thursday's ruling sets aside a November referendum in which voters overwhelmingly favored requiring officers to live in the city.

City Council proposed the referendum after a state law was changed in 2012, overturning the residency requirement. The law didn't require cities to negate residency requirements, but gave them the flexibility to do so.

Despite the referendum, the city's police union appealed because its contract with the city allows the residency requirement to be bargained for.

Critics of the ruling say officers who live outside the city won't understand Pittsburgh's nuances, including race relations. Union officials say the city will attract better police from a deeper labor pool.