Apparently, a rural town in southern Missouri is now without a municipal police force due to the fact that the whole entire police department submitted their resignations.
Kimberling City Police Chief Craig Alexander submitted his resignation on August 23rd, and he informed Kimberling City Mayor Bob Fritz that he had accepted another police chief position in another town.
It was just days after their police chief resigned that the rest of the Kimberling City police department followed the lead of their chief by resigning themselves. Three officers and one sergeant resigned from the force, according to KOLR-TV.
According to KSPR-TV, the mass exodus was driven by several factors:
The logic for each resignation varies from the current pay rate, not having qualified officers, no police clerk to assist in administrative duties, and new opportunities to better themselves. Chief Craig Alexander said he is going to accept another position with the Branson West Police Department and officer Shaun McCafferty joined him. Mayor Fritz told KSPR that the resignations had been “unexpected and the short notice disappointing.”
However, Mayor Fritz vowed that he would improve the compensation and benefits for Kimberling City police officers so that future retention issues are no longer an issue. “We’re looking for officers, we’re looking for a new police chief, and I think we’ll be fine,” Fritz said.
How will Kimberling City do law enforcement without police?
Kimberling City allegedly has an agreement in place with the Stone County Sheriff’s Office and the neighboring city of Branson West for them to assist with the law enforcement duties while Kimberling City is searching for their own police force.
“Until then we will be answering all the calls in Kimberling City, we can’t enforce city ordinances, but any other calls we will be handling at this time,” Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said to KSPR.
“It will be a struggle to fill the police department back up with qualified officers, but hopefully they can start working on that soon and get that accomplished,” he added.
With the high crime and widespread anti-police sentiment growing like a cancer throughout the country, there are many police departments that are experiencing staffing shortages. The Associated Press noted that the retirements and resignations and the issues with recruitment have led to many of these police departments being understaffed.
The Police Executive Research Forum released a study last June showing an increase of 45% in police retirements and an increase of nearly 20% in the 2020-2021 fiscal year compared to previous years.
The study also determined that hiring had slowed by a rate of 5%.