(GOODHUE, Minn.) — A small Minnesota city will soon be without its police force after the chief and several other officers all resigned, officials said.
The Goodhue City Council approved the resignations of the chief, a full-time officer and five part-time officers during a special meeting on Monday that was initially supposed to address pay increases.
“At this point there’s no reason to really talk about pay increases since we no longer have a police force,” Goodhue Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said at the top of the meeting.
Goodhue Police Chief Josh Smith and the other officers submitted their resignations last week, the mayor said. Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
During a city council meeting on July 26, Smith expressed frustrations in attempting to hire officers and argued that the salary wasn’t competitive enough.
“Right now with our current, trying to hire at $22 an hour, you’re never going to see another person again walk through those doors,” Smith told the council members. “Unless you guys do a dramatic change.”
Smith said small police departments hire starting at $30 an hour, and that Goodhue lacks other incentives such as signing bonuses. He said his part-time officers were working for the department largely as a “personal favor.”
Former part-time Goodhue police officer Matt Disbrow told Rochester, Minnesota, ABC affiliate KAAL that he and other officers left because the chief resigned.
“We were really there for him, more so than needing a part-time job,” Disbrow told the station. “So with him going, there really wasn’t any need for us to stick around.”
Mayor Anderson Buck said Smith and one other full-time officer are staying on through Aug. 24, and that the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office will take over calls and investigations from that point on.
“I want to reiterate that we will have police coverage in the city of Goodhue,” Anderson Buck said during Monday’s meeting. “That is not an issue.”
Anderson Buck told reporters the development was “heartbreaking.”
“We are going to rise above this, and I’m confident that we will have a police department again,” she said.
Goodhue is located about 63 miles southeast of Minneapolis, with a population of just over 1,000, according to the city.
Following Monday’s city council meeting, Goodhue business owner Lydia Strusz told Twin Cities ABC affiliate KSTP that the lack of a police force was “unnerving.”
“I just prefer Goodhue having their own police department,” Strusz told the station.
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