Citing low pay, the chief and staff of a small Minnesota town’s police department resigned, the Associated Press reports. Goodhue Police Chief Josh Smith and one other officer are still working for the city, but only until their resignations become official on Aug. 23. Smith was the first to submit his resignation, and another full-time officer and five employees then resigned. “This is heartbreaking to us,” Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said Monday night after an emergency council meeting. Goodhue, in southeastern Minnesota, has about 1,300 residents. The council will seek extra enforcement from the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office while town officials work to rebuild the department.
Smith told the council in July that the city wasn’t offering enough money to retain officers when other places were willing to offer better pay amid increasing job vacancies. Goodhue hasn’t matched other cities’ incentives such as sign-on bonuses, which Smith said affected recruiting. “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 said smaller departments pay at least $30 an hour. The mayor said the mass resignations were surprising because the council gave officers a 5% increase and Smith a $13,000 raise earlier this year. Last year, the police department in Morris, Minn., was disbanded after the department shrunk to just the chief and one other officer. The town now contracts with the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office.