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

A June 2022 photo shows officers beside a Goodhue Police Department vehicle.
  • The entire police force of a small city in Minnesota quit their jobs, NBC News reported.
  • The police chief said the $22-an-hour pay gave “zero incentive” for officers to be on call.
  • The city will rely on the sheriff’s office while it seeks to rebuild the department, the mayor said.

The entire police force of a small Minnesotan city collectively resigned, potentially leaving the city of just over 1,000 people without a functioning police department, according to officials.

NBC News reported that all employees of the Goodhue Police Department quit their roles over pay issues, citing Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck, speaking at a City Council meeting on Monday.

The meeting was originally scheduled to discuss salary increases for the police department, but the mass resignation had already occurred when it took place, NBC News reported.

Goodhue Police Chief Josh Smith submitted his resignation on August 9, according to the Associated Press. His resignation will become official on August 23, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

At a July 26 council meeting, Smith said that other law enforcement agencies were trying to recruit him and his colleagues, according to NBC News.

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

“There’s zero incentive to come out here to a small town, low pay, being on call, affecting your free time and everything else,” he said, per NBC News.

In addition to Smith, another full-time officer and five-part time employees resigned on Friday following the news that Smith was stepping down, AP reported.

“This is heartbreaking to us,” Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said Monday, according to AP.

The news agency reported that the mayor said the mass exodus of police officers came as a surprise because the council had given officers a 5% pay increase and Smith a $13,000 raise earlier this year.

Neither Buck nor Smith immediately responded to Insider’s requests for comment.

The police department will be on duty until August 24, according to NBC News.

While efforts are made to recruit for the police department, the council will rely on support from the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office to police the city, AP reported.

A meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday to discuss potential interim solutions, the mayor said, per NBC News.

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