- The entire police force, including the Chief of Police, in Goodhue, Minnesota, has resigned due to unresolved concerns about low pay and extended work hours.
- Despite the Goodhue City Council’s efforts to address salary issues, Chief Smith cited the rate of $22 an hour as insufficient to attract new recruits.
- Following this, the town plans to contract with the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services, mirroring other towns facing similar recruitment issues in recent years.
In an unprecedented move, every police officer in the Minnesota town of Goodhue, inclusive of the Chief of Police, has resigned from duty, citing unresolved complaints surrounding low wages and extensive working hours.
Located about 65 miles southeast of Minneapolis, the town, home to a modest population of a little over 1,000, anticipates a void in its police force by August 23.
Historically, Goodhue has faced challenges in drawing new recruits and offering competitive salaries to its police officers.
The resignation of the entire police department caught Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck off-guard.
Speaking to Fox 9, she expressed her surprise, “I was blindsided.”
Determined to allay concerns among residents, she assured, “I want to reiterate that we will have police coverage in the city of Goodhue. That is not an issue.”
Chief of Police, Josh Smith, painted a concerning picture of the local police recruitment situation, emphasizing the growing disinterest in the profession.
Last week, both Smith and a team comprising one full-time and five part-time members of the force tendered their resignations.
“This has been three weeks now, we have zero applicants, and I have zero prospects,” Smith lamented in July.
Further highlighting the strain on resources and work-life balance, he added, “I don’t want to be the guy working 80 hours a week just running this PD, being on call 24 hours a day, which I already am, and leaving no time for my family.”
While the Goodhue City Council made attempts to address salary issues earlier this year, raising Chief Smith’s salary by $13,000 and that of other officers by 5%, Smith found it inadequate.
He underlined the issue, noting that hiring at a rate of $22 an hour was simply insufficient.
In the wake of the resignations, Goodhue plans to partner with the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office to maintain law enforcement services.
This move is reminiscent of the decision taken by Morris, another town in Minnesota, to disband its police department last year owing to staffing challenges.
This recruitment crisis isn’t exclusive to Goodhue. Across America, both urban and rural police departments face similar issues.
The decline in interest for police work can be traced back to heightened anti-police sentiments, especially after George Floyd’s tragic death in 2020 while under Minneapolis police custody.
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