A police chief in Missouri unexpectedly resigned this week along with all of his officers over issues involving pay and not having the resources to properly perform their law enforcement duties, according to reports.
The sudden resignations by Kimberling City Police Chief Craig Alexander and his officers left local officials in the lurch as they moved quickly to implement a temporary solution while trying to find replacement officers in a ‘defund the police’ environment where it was already extremely difficult to recruit for departments, many of which are short several to dozens of cops.
“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,” said Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader, who added that in most cases, departments are short-staffed already, KY-3 in Springfield, Mo., reported.
According to Kimberling City Mayor Bob Fritz, Alexander turned in his resignation on Aug. 23 after taking another law enforcement position. According to his resignation letter, Alexander had worked for the city for 18 years but said he was looking for a change in order to better himself.
In addition to Alexander, a police sergeant and three officers have also resigned, the outlet reported.
Alexander and former Officer Shaun McCafferty have both taken positions with the Branson West Police Department, the outlet said.
“I didn’t know there were that many openings in Branson West because we didn’t see any advertisements for police,” Fritz noted.
Rader said that while his deputies are not authorized to enforce city ordinances, they can answer emergency calls inside the city limits and will do so until replacement officers and a new chief are hired.
“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,” he told KY-3, adding that he believes it’ll be tough to fill city officer positions.
“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 said.
“We’re looking for officers, we’re looking for a new police chief and I think we’ll be fine,” Fritz said, adding that the mass resignations were “unexpected and the short notice disappointing.”
As for the reasoning behind the resignations, KY-3 reported that they vary between not having enough qualified officers on staff, low pay — though Fritz said officers got raises within the past year — and a lack of clerical staff to assist in running the administrative aspects of the department. And better opportunities elsewhere, the outlet noted.
“Unfortunately, the inevitability of having no qualified officers at the current pay rate and no police clerk to assist in the administration side of running this department, I feel it will be impossible to do the job to the best of my abilities,” Sgt. Aaron Hoeft wrote in his resignation letter.
Anti-police attitudes among Democratic leaders of major cities, in addition to ‘defund’ efforts among the citizenry in those cities, have combined to create officer shortages and recruitment shortfalls across the country.
The officer exodus increased dramatically last year during months of anti-police protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
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