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Entire Police Force Resigns in Small Minnesota City of Goodhue

Entire Police Force Resigns in Small Minnesota City of Goodhue

“I think we’re all a little bit blindsided by it, but we’re resilient, and we’re going to move forward”

The entire police force in Goodhue, Minnesota, recently resigned, to the shock and dismay of the mayor and city council. Even worse, no one is lining up to replace them.

FOX News reports:

Entire police department resigns in Minnesota city, leaves mayor ‘blindsided’: ‘Zero applicants’

Goodhue, Minnesota, a small city in the southeastern part of the state, lost its entire police force after the chief and other members of the department handed in their resignation.

“I think we’re all a little bit blindsided by it, but we’re resilient, and we’re going to move forward,” Goodhue Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck told Fox 9.

“I want to reiterate that we will have police coverage in the city of Goodhue,” Buck said. “That is not an issue.”

Police Chief Josh Smith, who will continue to serve in his position until Aug. 24, told city officials that he could not find anyone to sign up to join the police force.

“This has been three weeks now, we have zero applicants, and I have zero prospects,” Smith said on July 26. “I’ve called every PD around for the youngest guys out there, getting into the game. There’s nobody getting into the game.”

“If you want to keep the PD and this is something we want to continue going with, something needs to change dramatically and drastically, and it’s got to happen now.”

This video report from KARE News frames the story as a pay dispute, but given that Goodhue is only an hour from Minneapolis, I suspect there are bigger issues at play here.

Just last week, KSTP News reported that Minneapolis is losing police faster than they can hire them:

Minneapolis losing police officers faster than they can hire, chief calls it ‘unsustainable’

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS looked at city payroll records and found between 2020 and 2022, the Minneapolis Police Department had 273 officers leave their jobs.

During that same three-year time period, the city hired 117 new officers, which equates to a net loss of 156 officers and an average net loss of 52 officers over the last three years.

If that trend were to continue, MPD would have fewer than 400 sworn officers. As recent as 2019, MPD had about 900 sworn officers on its payroll.

MPD Chief, Brian O’Hara, told KSTP he’s organized a recruiting team to aggressively reverse the current trend of officers leaving the department in high numbers.

“Well, I see the situation as not sustainable the way it is,” said O’Hara. “And, it’s difficult because the cops who are here, together with all our law enforcement partners, are making incredible progress.”

I sure hope the people of Goodhue are prepared to defend themselves and their homes if necessary.

Featured image via YouTube.


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Who would want to be a cop nowadays?

UnCivilServant | August 16, 2023 at 11:14 am

A pay dispute will generally not result in the resignation of everyone. There will always be some who go “Something is better than nothing”. There is another story under the surface.

    An entire police department quit over $22-an-hour pay, saying there is ‘zero incentive’ to work there

      Neo in reply to Neo. | August 16, 2023 at 11:50 am

      He said that their hourly wage of $22 was considerably lower than the $30-per-hour minimum offered by other departments.

      Martin in reply to Neo. | August 16, 2023 at 12:02 pm

      You can get that at Target Distribution for unpacking boxes. Certainly won’t get your life ruined for arresting the wrong person and not being sufficiently kowtowing to their privileged status. Probably won’t get shot at Target Distribution, although you never know. Not that a town of 1200 people will be a hot bed of shootings generally.

In my view people are making too big of a deal out of this story. It is a small, sleepy community where crime is likely trivial. And policing continues when necessary through the county sheriff. Small town police departments come and go all the time in this country. One should ALWAYS be prepared to defend themselves and their property regardless of the availability of law enforcement.

    CommoChief in reply to NotCoach. | August 16, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    I agree with you about the willingness to defend yourself. Relying upon the Sheriff for coverage is gonna need a contract and will cost the municipality for those services. This seems to be a bedroom community so PD encounters likely are trivial … until they ain’t. As we saw with Floyd, one routine encounter put LEO on trial. Then there’s the Ferguson MO saga. $22 an hour isn’t worth it.

      Vancomycin in reply to CommoChief. | August 16, 2023 at 12:31 pm

      “Relying upon the Sheriff for coverage is gonna need a contract and will cost the municipality for those services”

      Uhhhh, the sheriff is *already* responsible for covering communities in their county. All this would do is reroute emergency calls to the sheriff instead of local.

        Generally speaking, though, it does not include patrolling or answering calls in another jurisdiction. The city and the county will usually have to conclude an agreement to make that happen. And it will include the exchange of money.

          Vancomycin in reply to GWB. | August 16, 2023 at 1:53 pm

          generally speaking the towns and villages in a county ARE part of the county sheriff’s jurisdiction already.

          I’ve seen PLENTY of sheriff’s in cities and other locations that already have a police department.
          A town of around 1000 (which is the type of place I live) probably doesn’t need a full time 24 hour police force, frankly.

          Understand this differs depending on the state, and it’s not true everywhere.
          However, in many places the sheriff does not have jurisdiction for patrolling within towns in their county, because they are budgeted for only supporting the unincorporated portions. That’s their job.

          So, to have them take over the policing in a town within the county, requires a different distribution of resources. And that requires a legal agreement (otherwise they might not be able to enforce town ordinances, and the city might expect more manpower than they will actually be provided) and some money transferred from the city to the county.

          I know this because I’ve seen it happen and have then investigated why.

          Subotai Bahadur in reply to GWB. | August 17, 2023 at 10:42 pm

          Speaking as a long retired Peace Officer; two things. In order to avoid jurisdictional loopholes in a county here what we do is make all local police officers reserve deputy sheriffs so they do not have to worry about department boundaries when responding. While the County Sheriff does have jurisdiction all through the county, home rule municipalities have rights and ordinances that Sheriffs have to follow in those home rule areas.

          The second thing is that my former agency was a state agency. My pay was closely tied to that of a State Trooper. And with the politics of today . . . they are having a hard time maintaining staffing. Few applicants and people retiring ASAP. It is interesting seeing people I trained when they were rookies looking to retire as early as possible and hear the reasons why.

          Subotai Bahadur

        diver64 in reply to Vancomycin. | August 16, 2023 at 3:07 pm

        Nope! Having lived in a small town much like this the town must contract with either the Sheriff’s or the State Police for coverage within town limits

        I believe Sheriffs are responsible for covering the unincorporated parts of their counties — the parts outside of city limits. Within the city limits, it’s the responsibility of the mayor and city council to provide policing services.

        If they don’t have their own police department — or they have a very small one — they can ask the county Sheriff’s office to fill in.

        That’s where the contract comes in; filling in is not a normal part of the Sheriff’s duties. The contract will state what duties the Sheriff and deputies will take on and what the city will pay the county to cover the costs and liability of taking on those duties.

        If the city had a small police department, the Sheriff’s office could be contracted only for traffic duties and leave other crimes to the locals, or vice versa. That would be less expensive than asking the Sheriff to cover everything.

        But it looks like that’s not an option for the city of Goodhue.

        CommoChief in reply to Vancomycin. | August 16, 2023 at 4:33 pm


        Nope. The Sheriff Dept is not required to provide police services in the same manner as a municipal PD. Each State has a statute(s) that delineate the responsibilities of the Sheriff and his Deputies and that of incorporated municipal government and their PD.

        The particular County Sheriff Office already has existing contracts to provide Deputies and services to two communities on a shift basis; IOW instead of local PD LEO they have Deputies providing the routine patrol work and answering calls inside the municipal boundaries.

        That’s a way different level of service than a 9/11 call rerouted to the Sheriff who then dispatch a Deputy from outside the municipal boundaries. That level of presence requires allocation of resources from the County. Couldn’t find a cost for this particular County but another County in MN is charging eleven separate municipal jurisdictions $86+ per hour for police services.

        rungrandpa in reply to Vancomycin. | August 16, 2023 at 6:56 pm

        Also, the sheriff is an elected position. If you don’t like the job they are doing you vote someone else in.
        The city police do what the politically motivated mayor tells them to do.

nordic prince | August 16, 2023 at 11:25 am

As recent as 2019, MPD had about 900 sworn officers on its payroll.

Gee, I wonder what happened after 2019? 🤔🙄

E Howard Hunt | August 16, 2023 at 11:35 am

Could it be due to the Badhue?

I’m more interested in the impending UAW strike re: ev incentives.

How many officers are we talking in a town of less than 1200 people. Two? Three?

    Martin in reply to Martin. | August 16, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    I just noticed that their city tag line is ‘A “community” city’.
    Is it just me or have other people come to hate the word “Community”. Many of the people who use that word seem to be terrible people.

    GWB in reply to Martin. | August 16, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    I thought I saw 9 noted somewhere. Could be way wrong.
    The town has a population of around 1,200 people.

    Olinser in reply to Martin. | August 16, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    No matter how small the town is, has to be at LEAST 5-6 for the most minimal size.

    You have to cover 3 shifts, 7 days, every single day, and have to have enough backup that one guy getting sick or going on vacation means you have no police on duty.

    diver64 in reply to Martin. | August 16, 2023 at 3:13 pm

    After our town of about 1,000 ended the Town Constable position which was a story in its own right, we contracted with the State Police for coverage temporarily which is not uncommon. Our town finally settled on a 3 person police force

    Roy in Nipomo in reply to Martin. | August 16, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    When I was first hired as a dispatcher for a small town (~10,000) PD in the early ’70s, we had eight officers (counting the Chief) and a couple of reserves to fill in odd shifts. We could do it because we were a quiet city, next to two other fairly quiet cities with similar populations & staffing, Although units wouldn’t take reports in neighboring jurisdictions, “hot” calls (in any jurisdiction) would suck all of the units from surrounding agencies (and usually the one or two deputies which covered the whole southern third of the county). If an arrest was made and the sole unit for the city had to transport to the county jail (~20 miles away), other agencies would patrol the empty city until that unit returned. This was officially due to a “mutual aid” compact between adjoining agencies (unofficially it was because patrolling in a quiet city was boring!).

    Of course that was the old days when cops were “peace officers” and the citizen actually liked and trusted them.

$22.00 per hour is low even for starting pay but I think it more likely that some changes to their pension guarantees and other benefits drove the mass resignation. Pension negotiations may have been confidential so that would be why it is not mentioned in the reporting. Just a guess.

given that Goodhue is only an hour from Minneapolis
Take a look at a map. That hour puts them way heck and gone from Minneapolis. It looks like they’re out in farm land.

As to $22/hr…
I could live that way, with an adequate legal protection program, a prosecutor who actually lines people up to go to prison for the appropriate amount of time, and a low cost of living. And make me the police chief. 😉
Heck, I don’t even have any sex scandals in my current job for the local paper to investigate.

So they didn’t see this coming? I’m not buying that, there had to have been red flags everywhere.

Too many Minnesota voters’ heads are wedged in a dark and stinky place.

MPD chief said “the cops who are here, together with all our law enforcement partners, are making incredible progress.”

Such as?

Didn’t Minnesota prosecutors just imprison a police officer for five years for doing crowd control at the St. Floyd incident? He did nothing except follow orders. He showed up at the scene, was told to keep the mob at bay, and is now rotting in prison.

And now Minnesota municipalities are wondering why they cannot retain a police force? Several of the police officers involved in the St. Floyd incident were rookies. Hey, sign up for the academy, pass all of the tests, get your badge and gun, go out onto the streets and two weeks later you are being prosecuted for non-existent crimes that carry multi-year sentences and the newspapers vilify you and the populace at large hates you, you are now a felon and cannot pick up the wreckage of what is left of your lives even after you get out of prison.

Then deputies start quitting en masse, saying F@#$ this S@#! and the mayors and city councilmen are non-plussed?

Equilibrium will be achieved, even if it means the nice Scandinavian people that are comprise the Minnesota population are left unprotected.


Maybe Goodhue can recruit some nice, woke social workers with rainbow shirts to replace the police. It would be the dawn of enlightenment for Goodhue. Can’t wait to see it unfold . . . from a safe distance.