The residency law was passed in 1984. However, the Niagara Falls Police Club, the union representing patrol officers and detectives, later negotiated an exception. Its members are allowed to move out of the city after 10 years of service, as long as they joined the force before September 2016, Mazur said.
However, officers promoted to lieutenant or captain must leave the Police Club and join the Captains and Lieutenants Association, also known as the “brass union,” whose contract does not have that residency exception.
“These people were absolutely promised orally that this law would never be enforced against them,” Tuttle said. “When they were promoted, they all went to the city administration and said, ‘Look, we know we’ve got a protective clause in our Police Club contract but it’s not there in the brass’ union. If we get promoted, aren’t you going to come and make us move into the city?’ And they said, ‘No, no, no, no, we’re never going to do that. You can take these promotions and everything will be just fine.’ They’re not living up to that now.”
Those statements allegedly were made during the administration of former Mayor Paul A. Dyster, Tuttle said.
“We never told anybody we’re not going to (enforce residency),” Dyster said Friday. He said the City Council had for several years deleted money from the budget that would have been used to hire detectives to investigate residency matters.