ST. LOUIS ( -- St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson spent Tuesday pushing for change on the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's residency requirements at Missouri’s capitol.

Lifting the residency requirement is one of the solutions she mentioned at the beginning of the year during a press conference after a violent start to the new year.

[READ: Krewson says violent start of new year is 'troubling and discouraging']

The St. Louis Mayor's Office said the number one complaint recruiters hear from possible cadets is the residency requirement.

At a public hearing Tuesday afternoon, Krewson, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden and Public Safety Director Judge Jimmie Edwards told lawmakers that the city needs to do away with its residency requirement to fill the ranks of a department that is roughly 130 officers short. 

"St. Louis City is the only city in the region with a residency requirement," Krewson said in a tweet on Tuesday. "It's holding us back from hiring and retaining officers, EMTs, dispatchers, other employees. I'm hopeful lawmakers will lift it, giving us a tool to address public safety and under-staffing."

One of the co-sponsors of the bill is a St. Charles County State Representative. He said although he doesn't live in the city, crime in St. Louis is a regional and state problem.

“It's not a fix all and not every officer who lives there will move out,” Ron Hicks said. "[It's] another tool the mayor and police chief can use to recruit and retain some of the police officers they have."

Missouri's Attorney General Eric Schmitt is in support of the bill. 

"Recruitment's a big issue and I think if we want to get serious about cracking down on crime we gotta have boots on the ground and cops on the streets," Schmitt said.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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