The entire police force in a small city in southeastern Minnesota quit because of a pay issue, NBC News reports.
Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said Monday at a City Council meeting that the Goodhue Police Department quit over the pay dispute.
According to the City of Goodhue’s website, its population is just over 1,000.
The police force in Goodhue, Minnesota, will be entirely vacant starting Aug. 24 after its chief and employees all resigned, citing recruiting issues and pay as major factors. https://t.co/X69fIG5T6A
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) August 15, 2023
Per NBC News:
The City Council met to discuss options for police coverage after the department’s resignation. The meeting was initially called so the city could discuss salary increases for the department, but the entire team resigned before it could happen.
Police Chief Josh Smith submitted his resignation at a City Council meeting last Wednesday, The Associated Press reported. A full-time officer and five part-time employees resigned two days after having learned about Smith.
“We are all devastated by this,” said Anderson Buck.
“We’re trying to muddle through this and do the best we can and provide service for our community.”
Anderson Buck said their city attorney advised them to pursue other options since the police department already submitted resignations.
Recruitment for the city’s police force has reportedly been non-existent.
Smith cited the pay rate.
“So right now with our current — trying to hire at $22 an hour, you’re never going to see another person again walk through those doors. That’s it,” he said.
“Unless you guys do a dramatic change.”
Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck plans to meet with the sheriff’s office on Wednesday to discuss service options. https://t.co/i3eRpcORvx
— KARE 11 (@kare11) August 15, 2023
KARE 11 added:
Come Aug. 24, Goodhue, Minnesota will be without a police force after all seven of its officers, including the chief, resigned.
The city council called a special meeting Monday night and its members were visibly upset as they tried to figure out their next move. Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said she was “blindsided” by the resignations and plans to meet with the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday to figure out coverage plans for the short term.Advertisement
“I was floored,” said local business owner Lydia Strusz. “I just thought one; I didn’t realize all of them.”
The council was set to discuss salaries for its officers, as it has said they quit over concerns about pay.
“We knew we were on the low side and so we were trying very, very hard to bring those numbers up,” said Anderson Buck.
The mayor says the city gave its officers a 5% pay increase and the chief a $13,000 raise at the beginning of the year, as the council now works to restructure its budget to compete with bigger cities. The Office of the State Auditor shows Goodhue had a public safety budget of about $375,000 in 2022.