The small town of Goodhue in Minnesota has been thrown into chaos after its entire police force resigned following a council meeting where pay increases were discussed. The resignation of Police Chief Josh Smith and all members of the force has left the town, with a population of 1,300, without local law enforcement, effective August 23.
The mass resignation has prompted an outcry from residents and business owners who are concerned for their safety and wellbeing. Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck was reportedly “blindsided” by the resignations and has been forced to assure locals that there will be police coverage after the last officer leaves.
“This is a dire situation for our town. Without a police force, we are vulnerable to crime and lawlessness. It is imperative that the city council takes immediate action to address this issue,” said local resident, Joe Smith.
Police Chief Josh Smith has cited difficulties in recruitment due to low wages as the reason for the resignations. Smith had reportedly been struggling to find new recruits and eventually accepted a job in another city.
Many locals have raised concerns over the low pay rates for police officers in Goodhue, with some calling for a significant increase to attract new recruits to the department. Smith reportedly said that smaller departments pay at least $30 an hour, while Goodhue was trying to hire at only $22 an hour.
“We need to value our police officers and pay them a fair wage. It is insulting to expect them to work for such low pay,” said Lydia Strusz, a local business owner.
The Goodhue City Council has been criticised for not doing enough to address the issue of low wages in the police department. The lack of incentives, such as sign-on bonuses, has also hurt recruitment efforts, according to Smith.
“We cannot afford to lose our police force. The city council must take immediate action to remedy this situation. The safety and security of our town depend on it,” said one concerned resident.
The resignation of the entire police force has left the town in a state of uncertainty as they now face an increased risk of crime and violence. With no police presence, residents fear for their safety and the future of their community.
“The city council needs to act fast. We cannot afford to let our town go without law enforcement. The consequences could be catastrophic,” said another resident.
It remains to be seen what action the Goodhue City Council will take to address this critical situation. Until then, the town’s residents will be left to deal with the fallout from this shocking mass resignation.