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JCPD considering changes to policy that requires officer candidates to live within 15 miles

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Johnson City, TN - Johnson City police administrators are taking a fresh look at an older policy that may be limiting the city's efforts in finding the best officers to hire.

To get a job as a Johnson City police officer, one of the first requirements is that you must live within 15 miles of a previously determined central point in Johnson City, according to Maj. Garry Younger.

He says under the current policy, if you live in Bristol, Kingsport, Greeneville or Virginia, for example, you can't be a Johnson City officer.

The city put the policy in place to make sure, in an emergency when called, officers could get from their house to work as quickly as possible. However, the police department's leadership says it is now time to consider revising the policy.

Administrators say they occasionally have to turn away solid candidates because of it.

"It's like are we losing a very good, qualified candidate just because of a mile or two miles?" Maj. Younger asked. "That's what's being looked at."

Over the last decade, Maj. Younger says the number of police candidates has dropped significantly, from roughly 90 a decade ago down to just 41 this last go-around. Of those 41, the city hired 10.

Maj. Younger says a change in city benefits has also made recruiting more challenging.

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