Goodhue officials ‘blindsided’ after city’s entire police force resigns

City officials in Goodhue met Monday night to discuss their next steps after the city’s entire police force resigned.

It was standing room only Monday night at Goodhue City Hall, as city council members held a special meeting to discuss the seven resignation letters they were handed last week from Police Chief Josh Smith, an officer and five part-time officers.

"I think we're all a little bit blindsided by it, but we're resilient and we're going to move forward," said Goodhue Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck.

Anderson Buck said Smith and his officers will be employed until Aug. 24 and after that, their cases will be handed off to the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office.

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

During a city council meeting on July 26, Smith sounded the alarm about recruitment problems. He told the council that the city’s current pay of $22 an hour for officers was not competitive.

"We've got zero applicants and I have zero prospects. I've called every PD around looking for the youngest guys out there getting into the game. There's nobody getting into the game," Smith said at the time.

He told city officials that small cities like Goodhue are losing potential recruits to the cities and he himself had had multiple offers that week alone.

"If you want to keep the PD … something needs to change dramatically and drastically, and it's got to happen now," he said in July.

City officials now recognize that if they're going to be able to rebuild, they'll need to be competitive.

"I can probably speak for everybody that they provided excellent safety and security to our community. And the small town policing that they did: We want that back," said Chris Schmit, a council member with the City of Goodhue.

Anderson Buck said she’s set to meet with Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly on Wednesday to discuss potential options for police coverage in the city.