The entire police department of Minnesota state’s Goodhue city has quit work over a pay dispute with the mayor of the Upper Midwestern US city.
Goodhue Police Department — consisting of a chief, a full-time officer, and five part-time officers – entirely resigned on Monday in protest to a long-lasting pay dispute with the small town’s mayor Ellen Anderson-Buck.
The small town’s mayor claimed she was “blindsided” by the resignation of the entire police department.
However, the mayor and City Council unanimously did approve the resignation letters from all of the police department’s officers, including the chief.
They also approved plans for the mayor to meet with the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office to discuss a possible partnership to ensure the city’s emergency calls are covered.
Goodhue Police Chief Josh Smith had reportedly handed his letter of resignation to City Council late last week, and the rest of the officers followed suit in solidarity with their chief.
“Everybody knows everybody. This is heartbreaking to us,” the mayor said, adding, the town was resilient and its community would move on.
“We are going to rise above this, and I’m confident that we will have a police department again.”
Anderson-Buck said Chief Smith and one other full-time officer will continue their duties until August 24 when they are due to leave Goodhue Police Department (PD).
She said after that the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office will take over police calls and investigations until the issue is resolved.
“They will respond to calls,” she said, giving assurance to worried locals that Sheriff’s Office will fill in for the time being so the town does not descend into lawlessness.
Anderson-Buck reiterated that the small town would have police coverage against outlaws. “That’s no problem.”
“I want to reiterate that we will have police coverage in the city of Goodhue. That is not an issue,” Anderson-Buck said at the council meeting, adding that she has been assured the transition will be “very smooth.”
Anderson-Buck claimed the entire police department’s resignation “is not unusual — it does happen.” “We’re not the first, and we won’t be the last!”
However, she was at pains to tell the council that rebuilding the department will be an “uphill battle”.
According to a former Goodhue police officer, Police Chief Smith had repeatedly raised the issue of pay, calling on the town officials to increase the salary and make better recruitment efforts. However, Smith’s requests had been ignored by them.
In this regard, Chief Smith said there is no end in sight in terms of finding a solution as he had not had a single applicant to fill the vacancies. “No one is in the game.”
He cited poor pay, which is $22 an hour in Goodhue, as the sole reason for the mass resignation.