OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
8:56 AM – Wednesday, August 16, 2023
The town of Goodhue, Minnesota, is facing a significant law enforcement crisis as its entire police force resigned due to low pay.
The resignation was initiated by Police Chief Josh Smith at a City Council meeting on August 9th. Following his resignation, one full-time officer and five part-time employees reportedly also resigned on August 11th with their last working day is set for August 23rd. This sudden departure has left the town without local law enforcement, prompting the City Council to seek temporary assistance from the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office.
Despite recent efforts to address the pay issue, including a 5% pay increase and a $13,000 raise for Chief Smith earlier this year, the Goodhue officers were still receiving lower wages in comparison to similar communities.
Chief Smith had previously expressed concerns about pay and recruiting during a meeting on July 26th, where he highlighted the challenge of maintaining the police department with inadequate compensation. He stressed that the city’s current pay rate of $22 an hour was insufficient to attract and retain officers, especially when other communities were offering higher salaries, often around $30 an hour.
The City Council expressed its desire to rebuild the local police force rather than permanently relying on the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services. However, the timeline for achieving this remains uncertain.
This comes as small towns across Minnesota face budget constraints and a statewide shortage of officers increasingly. The town of Morris, for example, disbanded its police department last year due to budgetary and staffing difficulties, ultimately contracting with the county sheriff’s office for law enforcement services.
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