New York City Mayor Eric Adams in early January.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams in early January. Credit: Howard Schnapp

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on Tuesday that he plans "to find other ways" — in the absence of a residency law he wants the state to impose — to get more NYPD officers to live in New York City instead of suburbs like Long Island.

"We’re wasting taxpayers’ dollars. Many people don’t know that a police officer is responsible for responding to crime 24 hours a day. There’s no such thing as being off-duty technically," he said.

Adams would be following through on a promise made during last year’s Democratic primary for mayor, when his campaign said he backs the state-law change as well as the city awarding bonus points to city residents on Civil Service exams for hiring and promotion.

On Monday, Adams said he would roll out a plan in the next week or so. The police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, is working on the details, he said. Adams suggested that officers who live elsewhere could be grandfathered in to any residency requirement.

"We shouldn’t have 30-something percent of officers residing out. You are paying for other counties to be safe," the mayor said.

Speaking Tuesday morning in television and radio interviews, Adams said, "We need our police officers to be in New York City," as he put it to 1010 WINS news radio.

"I would love a residency law. But in absence of a residency law, I’m going to look at, can I incentivize giving additional points on exams if a person is a New York City resident?" the mayor said.

FILE - Police patrol the A line subway train bound...

FILE - Police patrol the A line subway train bound to Inwood, Saturday Feb. 13, 2021, in New York. The worldwide surge in coronavirus cases driven by the new omicron variant is the latest blow to already strained hospitals, nursing homes, police departments and supermarkets struggling to maintain a full contingent of nurses, police officers and other essential workers as the pandemic enters its third year. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) Credit: AP/Bebeto Matthews

Adams has said that he wants to identify and promote personnel from other city agencies, such as school security guards, who are more likely to be city residents, into the NYPD, an idea he touted Saturday afternoon at an anti-violence meeting in the Bronx.

"I’m going to find other ways to reach the overall goal — and that is to get New York City police officers living in New York City, so they could spend their tax dollars in New York City, so they can have their children go to school, go to houses of worship, go to cleaners, spend their money here," Adams told 1010 WINS.

Nassau and Suffolk counties are home to more NYPD officers than any other jurisdiction outside of New York City: about 33% of NYPD officers — there are 35,000 on the police force — live on Long Island, NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie told Newsday. About 51% of those officers live outside of the five boroughs.

There is a residency requirement for most other New York City municipal jobs, but police officers, firefighters, jail guards and certain others can live in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam or Orange counties.

An email for comment sent to the NYPD’s largest rank-and-file labor union, the Police Benevolent Association, was not immediately returned.

The debate over a residency requirement for the NYPD cops is a debate that dates back to the mid-20th century, if not earlier.

In 1971, a city cop who lived in the suburbs asked a New York Times reporter writing about a proposal, supported by then-Mayor John Lindsay, to mandate that city residency: "Would you let your wife walk these streets at night?"

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