The entire police department of Kimberling City, Missouri, has resigned following a resignation letter from the department’s chief.
Former Chief Craig Alexander informed town officials that “he felt he was no longer able to complete his job at his very best,” according to KOLR 10. A lack of proper tools, low wages, better opportunities, and a lack of administrative help constitute the reasons officers are leaving.
In his resignation letter from September 7, Sgt. Aaron Hoeft brought to light some of the issues that resulted in all of the department’s officers stepping down:
Unfortunately the inevitability of having no qualified officers at the current pay rate and no police clerk able to assist in the administration side of running this department, I feel it will be impossible to do the job at the best of my abilities.
Kimberling City Mayor Bob Fritz was blindsided by the exodus, stating that the officers’ resignations were “unexpected and the short notice was disappointing.” Fritz denied the officers’ claims that the department lacked tools and a reasonable pay wage. “Have I ever said no to you guys? No, [I] haven’t. So how can I explain this right here? I have no idea,” the mayor declared.
Alexander has taken a position at the nearby Branson West Police Department, and so has one of his officers, Shaun McCafferty, who informed town officials that he wanted to take the position to “better [himself] and [his] employment status.”
In addition to Alexander, McCafferty, and Hoeft, Officers Rutger House and Caleb McCarty have submitted letters of resignation.
In an apparent dig at his former chief and one of his former officers, Fritz said, “I didn’t know there were that many openings in Branson West because we didn’t see an advertisement for police.”
Presently, Kimberling City is looking to rebuild its police department from the ground up. “We’re looking for officers, we’re looking for a new police chief and I think we’ll be fine,” Fritz explained.
In the meantime, the Stone County Sherriff’s Office and the Branson West Police Departments will handle emergency calls, according to the mayor:
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.
While Fritz has remained optimistic regarding the future of the Kimberling City Police Department, Stone County Sherriff Doug Rader believes it will be a tall task to build the department from the ground up. “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,” the sheriff explained.