Minnesota Town’s Entire Police Force Walks Off Job

A Minnesota town faces an uncertain future after its entire police force resigned and no applicants are lining up to take the positions.

Goodhue officials are scrambling to provide protection for their citizens. Police Chief Josh Smith agreed to stay on duty until Aug. 24, but he informed the city that there are no candidates willing to join the force.

He said the search has been ongoing for three weeks but has been fruitless. Smith explained that “we have zero applicants and I have zero prospects.”

He added, “There’s nobody getting into the game.”

Goodhue is southeast of Minneapolis, the epicenter of the anti-law enforcement George Floyd riots and many “defund the police” protests. Departments across the country, especially in crime-ridden urban areas, are having difficulty filling the ranks with new recruits.

The mass exodus of demoralized officers is leaving police forces barren.

Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said city officials were “blindsided” but added that “we are resilient, and we’re going to move forward.” The Goodhue County Sheriff’s Department is expected to expand its services and cover the town when the officers leave later this month.

The departure of Goodhue’s police force came after Smith announced his intention to step down. The disputes reportedly centered on low pay and benefits provided for officers.

The city council accepted resignations from Smith and full-time officer Anthony Brecht along with those of five part-time officers. Goodhue has a population of roughly 1,300.

That meeting was supposed to focus on police pay increases before the rush of resignations. Smith told the council he is fielding offers from larger departments and said the current pay structure hinders attracting officers to Goodhue.

He explained that as long as the city offers $22 an hour, “you’re never going to see another person again walk through those doors.” Smith told local leaders that he called every PD trying to locate young guys who want to move to the town to become officers.

Those who are looking for a career “are getting scooped up immediately and going to the Cities.”

Small towns and communities across Minnesota face similar challenges, Smith said. However, many of them have boosted pay and benefits to the point where they are getting more candidates.

To think that $22 per hour was acceptable before the current administration took power and supercharged inflation with reckless spending.