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Entire police force resigns in Minnesota city

Officers stand near crime scene tape. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
August 19, 2023

The entire police department of Goodhue, Minnesota, resigned recently after the police chief and multiple other police officers submitted their resignation letters.

In response to the resignation of the city’s police chief and six other officers, Goodhue Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck told Fox 9, “I think we’re all a little bit blindsided by it, but we’re resilient, and we’re going to move forward.” The mayor added, “I want to reiterate that we will have police coverage in the city of Goodhue. That is not an issue.”

During a recent city council meeting, Police Chief Josh Smith noted that Goodhue’s current pay rate of $22 per hour presented a significant challenge for potential recruitment.

“We’ve got zero applicants and I have zero prospects,” he said. “I’ve called every PD around looking for the youngest guys out there getting into the game. There’s nobody getting into the game,” Smith said at the time.”

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Goodhue warned that if the city wanted to keep its police department, “something needs to change dramatically and drastically, and it’s got to happen now.”

The police chief and the city’s police department are currently scheduled to serve the city until Aug. 24. Following Aug. 24, the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office will temporarily take over the department’s responsibilities, according to Fox 9.

Chris Schmit, a Goodhue city council member, applauded the city’s police force for serving the community, stating, “I can probably speak for everyone when I say that they provided excellent safety and security to our community. And the small town policing that they did, we want that back.”

The city of Goodhue is not the only community experiencing difficulties maintaining its police force. According to a recent survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, the number of police retirements and resignations has skyrocketed in recent years. The survey found that police departments experienced 47% more resignations in 2022 compared to statistics from 2019.