Out of nowhere, and with no notice, an entire police force in Missouri has resigned, but not for the reasons you may think.
Kimberling City, a rural town in southern Missouri, is now having to survive without a police department.
Recently, there have been several stories about police officers resigning over vaccine mandates, increased anti-police sentiment, and the way their superiors have treated them as scapegoats when something goes wrong. This situation is different, and is for a much more common and understandable reason: finding better opportunities.
Kimberling City Police Chief Craig Alexander abruptly submitted his resignation on August 23rd, informing the city’s mayor, Bob Fritz, that he had taken another position in a neighboring town.
Just a few days later, the entire police department, which is made up of three officers and one sergeant, followed their chief’s lead.
The mass resignation was caused by several factors, according to reporting from KSPR-TV:
“The reasoning for each resignation varies from not having qualified officers, the current pay rate, no police clerk to assist in the administration of the department, and new opportunities to better themselves. Chief Craig Alexander said he is accepting another position with Branson West Police Department along with Officer Shaun McCafferty.”
Mayor Fritz called the resignations “unexpected” and the fact that he was given such short notice “disappointing.”
The mayor has now vowed to improve the compensation and benefits for police officers in his town. Just like a typical politician, rather than fixing the problem before it got to this point, he apparently either didn’t realize or didn’t care until it was too late.
Mayor Fritz is hoping that by making these improvements, Kimberling City will be able to ensure future retention of police officers.
“We’re looking for officers, we’re looking for a new police chief and I think we’ll be fine,” he said.
For now, the town will lean on neighboring areas for support while they look to replace their entire police force.
“A mutual aid agreement with Stone County Sheriffs Office and the City of Branson West in that they’ll assist Kimberling City until our police department is at full capacity. As of today, we have eight resumes and some of them are unbelievable. And like I told the city administrator, start setting up interviews and everything too. I think we can have this taken care of this, I’m hoping in the next few weeks or so,” Fritz said.
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader spoke with local news outlet KSPR about rendering aid to Kimberling City.
“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,” Sheriff Rader said.
“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.