After entire Minn. PD resigns, sheriff's office reaches tentative agreement to police city
The Minnesota Law Enforcement Labor Service reports that nearly 50% of the state's police departments are suffering from insufficient staff
By Sarah Roebuck
GOODHUE, Minn. — After the entire police force in Goodhue, including the chief, resigned earlier in August, the City of Goodhue has reached a tentative agreement with the sheriff's office to take over policing duties, KARE reports.
The agreement, pending approval from the city council, would have the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office take over for the rest of 2023 and talks for 2024 plans are ongoing.
"The City of Goodhue and the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office are working together to ensure no interruption of police service for the citizens of Goodhue," the sheriff's department said in a statement.
Police Chief Josh Smith resigned during a city council meeting on Aug. 9. The rest of the department, a full-time officer and five part-time employees, resigned on Aug. 11 after they heard Smith quit.
During a city council meeting in July, Smith contended that the city's compensation was insufficient to keep officers on board, especially considering other communities and urban areas were offering higher pay in the face of growing police department job vacancies.
"Right now ... trying to hire at $22 an hour, you're never going to see another person again walk through those doors," Smith told the council. He later said smaller departments were offering at least $30 an hour.
With a population of approximately 1,200, Goodhue is the latest in a series of cities over the past two years to witness the closure of its police department. Spring Grove, Morris and Ortonville saw their police departments shut down in 2022, while Wheaton experienced a similar fate earlier this year. The Minnesota Law Enforcement Labor Service reports that nearly 50% of the state's police departments are suffering from insufficient staff.