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Entire Minnesota town's police force quits after pay dispute

A Minnesota police chief warned officials the town was unable to offer competitive salaries. Weeks later, the town is left without any officers.
Entire Minnesota town's police force quits after pay dispute
Posted at 6:10 AM, Aug 16, 2023

The town of Goodhue, Minnesota, will soon not have any remaining officers after its entire police force resigned following a complaint by the city's outgoing police chief over pay. 

City leaders said Police Chief Josh Smith, full-time officer Anthony Brecht and the town's group of part-time officers have all resigned. Their resignations take effect Aug. 24. 

Goodhue City Council held a special meeting on Monday to address the resignations. Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said the city would work with surrounding agencies to cover the town while Goodhue considers the department's future. 

Originally, Monday's meeting was scheduled to address pay increases for the department, Anderson Buck said. That was prompted after Smith told the City Council at a meeting last month that pay was too low for the department to compete with other towns. 

"Right now with our with our current pay, trying to hire at 22 an hour, you're never going to see another person again walk through those doors unless you guys do a dramatic change,  everybody sits down and comes up with it," Smith said. 

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He said other small towns in Minnesota are dealing with similar issues as many larger cities are simply outbidding for the few officers actively applying for work. 

"There's no real incentive for coming out here," Smith said. "You come to these other places and they got sign-on bonuses, which don't get me started about that one, but there's there's zero incentive to come out here to a small town, low pay, being on call affecting your free time and everything else. Like I said, this is about three weeks now we've got zero applicants and I have zero prospects."

Smith said in July he was receiving multiple job offers, but at the time said, "I'm willing to stick it out as long as I can to help you guys."

"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 with no time for my own family," he added.

Anderson Buck said the city intends to rebuild the police department, but that pay would have to increase. 

According to the city's website, the town has a population of just over 1,000 residents. 

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