Milwaukee's residency rule cost one police officer his job

Chief Flynn calls it a political move by Gov. Walker

CREATED Apr 3, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - If the Milwaukee residency rule goes away some say it could cost the city millions of dollars. But one man says it cost him his job.

The residency rule is a big issue for many of the men and women who try to enforce the rule of law in Milwaukee. But a fired up Chief Flynn says the rule is critical to the city's survival and he thinks Governor Walker is playing politics with this issue.

"It's unfortunate circumstances," said former Milwaukee Police Officer Ralph Salyers.

He doesn't want to be the poster cop for the residency rule but it's the reason he's no longer on the job.

"I was forced to leave," he said.

Salyers was a decorated Milwaukee Police officer. He earned the Medal of Valor for his heroic actions on the job.

But he was forced to resign after two years because he had trouble selling his home in Waukesha and couldn't move to Milwaukee.

"When I was working in Milwaukee it didn't matter that I didn't live there,"  said Salyers. "I still did my job as if I owned my neighborhood, my squad area, my beat area."

Chief Flynn isn't worried about losing a few good officers but he is concerned about about Governor Walker's plan to eliminate the residency rule for Milwaukee.

"It's foolish to impose this on Milwaukee," said Flynn. "There are other ways to pay back the mayor for having the temerity to run for governor. You don't have to attack the viability of your central city."

But is Flynn really suggesting the governor is playing political games with Milwaukee?

"I fear that I may just have implied that," said Flynn.

The chief believes city employees are part of the social glue that keeps cities alive. He claims cities that dropped the residency requirement paid a huge economic price.

"I wish the governor would just focus on the bigger issues rather than take it out on Milwaukee," said Flynn

Gov. Walker's people have not yet responded to a request to comment on Chief Flynn's comments.

This issue is expected to come up Thursday when state lawmakers hear from taxpayers about the governor's budget.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at the Greendale High School.