Goodhue looks for way forward as police department resigns
As the city of Goodhue loses its police department, plans to keep law enforcement coverage in the city still need to be worked out.
Monday, during a special City Council meeting, the mayor and council unanimously approved the resignation letters from all of the police department’s officers, including the chief. They also approved plans for the mayor to meet with the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office to discuss a possible partnership to ensure the city’s emergency calls are covered.
Late last week, according to sister station KAAL-TV in Rochester, Goodhue Police Chief Josh Smith gave his letter of resignation to city leaders, and his officers followed suit in support.
According to a former Goodhue police officer, city leadership had ignored the chief’s requests for higher pay and better recruitment efforts.
Throughout the special City Council meeting, the pay rate was brought up several times as a main reason the city is in this position.
“Everybody knows everybody. This is heartbreaking to us,” Goodhue Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck said, adding: “We are going to rise above this, and I’m confident that we will have a police department again.”
Anderson Buck said part of the resignation includes Chief Smith and one other full-time officer to stay on through Aug. 24. After that, she said the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office will take over calls and investigations. But details of exactly what they will look like are still not worked out.
The mayor and one other council member plan to meet with Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly this Wednesday to discuss those plans. The next council meeting is set for Aug. 23, when the city can expect to learn more about future plans.
While very few community members showed up to the special council meeting, Goodhue business owner Lydia Strusz did attend and shared her disappointment with these developments with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
“It’s just unnerving to know that they may not be there,” Strusz said about the unknown of placing an emergency call.
“I just prefer [Goodhue] having their own police department,” Stusz added.
The city of Goodhue has fewer than 1,500 residents and is about an hour and 15 minutes southeast of the Twin Cities. The police department had fewer than 10 officers, including the chief, and many of the officers were part-time.