Police Crisis Has Reached Rural America

In recent times, police have often been painted as bad guys in our increasingly upside-down society. But now, the difficulties impacting larger cities are seeping into rural communities

Police departments in major cities have been grappling with a shortage of police officers for a few years since the rise of the Defund the Police and Black Lives Matter movements.

Several officers resigned from those large departments and moved on to smaller ones. However, that doesn’t mean those smaller departments are immune from the effect of politics on their jobs.

Recently, Moose Lake, Minnesota, joined other Minnesota towns — Morris and Goodhue — in disbanding their police forces.

The Moose Lake City Council blamed a shrinking police force and burgeoning budget for the problem.

“Times change and this city cannot afford to have its police department,” said Council Member Greg Sarvela before voting to contract with the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office.

One issue police forces nationwide have faced in recent years while officers have resigned or quit is increasing the response times to emergency calls.

Moose Lake’s residents will undoubtedly see response times increase with the disbanding of its police force because the officers they depend on to protect them have additional geographic areas to cover, along with having to respond to more calls.

Underneath the surface, the police department has had difficulties for a while. The department — made up of five people — was reduced to one officer, with others falling suit alongside their fellow officers nationwide and resigning.

Instead of giving needed support to its police force and staff, the city council seized upon the opportunity and got rid of it.

“Moose Lake eliminating its police department is part of a wider statewide trend. Since 2016, 35 police departments have been dissolved across the state, according to data from the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training,” reported the Pioneer Press.

“What Moose Lake is going through is not uncommon for several small agencies in the state of Minnesota,” said Jim Mortenson, executive director for Law Enforcement Labor Services in Minnesota.

Other towns that also don’t have their police forces include Goodman, Missouri, and Kenly, North Carolina.

The police force in Kenly resigned in support of the police chief, who had previously resigned due to a lack of support from the new town manager.

“The new manager has created an environment I do not feel we can perform our duties and services to the community,” said Josh Gibson, Police Chief, in a Facebook post that is now removed or deleted.

The Goodman police force resigned after a new mayor, who campaigned for dismantling the police department, was elected.

“We at Goodman Police Department refuse to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate or support law enforcement and threatens our jobs,” said Adam Miller, Police Chief. “These officers start at $15 per hour, with no room in the budget for pay raises, and no retirement, just a LOW hourly rate. We did it for the citizens.” 

Miller added, “Our officers were stalked, tormented, slandered, and harassed while making a whopping $15-$16 an hour.”

Police have now arrived at their breaking point. They are expected to control crime in their jurisdictions despite ever-increasing restrictions on how they can do it to the point that they cannot do their jobs safely. So, they resign.

Despite facing an increasingly hostile population — particularly in cities — police feel they aren’t supported by the city and elected officials and are leaving not to be crushed in their chosen profession. They are leaving. They are leaving their communities to deal with the crime that city officials have encouraged. Can you blame them?

Democrats and the media tend to ignore the increasing problems or blame it on something else other than what the police say the issue is.

Doing this means things will continue to worsen, and the few remaining officers will continue to risk their lives on the line for officials who don’t seem to care as long as they can persist in pandering to progressives.