During a city council meeting in late July, Goodhue Police Chief Josh Smith warned city officials that the department was facing an alarming recruiting crisis.
“We’ve got zero applicants and I have zero prospects. 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 told city council members.
Smith explained that because the city’s pay of $22 per hour was not competitive, it lost officers to nearby larger cities. According to Smith, smaller departments offered a minimum of $30 per hour. He noted that he had received multiple job offers that week.
“Not that I’m leaving you guys, because I told you I’m in it,” Smith said during the July meeting, according to the Star Tribune. “But the harsh reality is, 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.”
Salaries were still not competitive with other nearby departments even after the city council reportedly increased pay by 5% and gave Smith a $13,000 raise earlier this year.
“If you want to keep the PD … something needs to change dramatically and drastically, and it’s got to happen now,” Smith added.
The entire Goodhue police force, consisting of Smith, a full-time officer, and five part-time officers, resigned last week. The seven officers will remain on the job until August 24. Their cases will then be handed over to the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office.
On Monday, city officials held an emergency meeting at Goodhue City Hall to discuss the resignations.
Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said, “I think we’re all a little bit blindsided by it, but we’re resilient and we’re going to move forward.”
Anderson Buck reassured residents that the town would still have police coverage.
“I want to reiterate that we will have police coverage in the city of Goodhue. That is not an issue,” she said.
City council member Chris Schmit stated, “I can probably speak for everybody that they provided excellent safety and security to our community. And the small town policing that they did: we want that back.”
The mayor is scheduled to meet with Sheriff Marty Kelly on Wednesday to discuss police coverage in Goodhue until the city can rebuild its force.
Goodhue faces police department officer loss I KMSP FOX 9youtu.be
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