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February 16, 2024

Minnesota Town Votes to Disband Police Force, Citing Budget Woes

The government of Moose Lake, Minnesota, has decided to disband its entire police force after the City Council voted to engage the county for law enforcement services, according to a report released Thursday.

Mayor Ted Shaw expressed disappointment with the decision, as per the Star Tribune.

Moose Lake will establish a contract with the Carlton County Sheriff's Office. Budget concerns played a significant role in the decision-making process.

Last autumn, the City Council downsized a "5-person police force" to finance the entire department, the newspaper reported. Subsequently, in January, two additional officers resigned, leaving only one officer remaining on the force.

"Public safety was slated to constitute a substantial portion of Moose Lake's $2.8 million 2024 budget — approximately $900,000 for a five-person force and part-time administrative assistance," disclosed Ellissa Owens, the city administrator.

The move to dissolve yet another police department in Minnesota follows closely after Goodhue, a small southeastern city in the state, lost its entire police force when the chief and other department members resigned in August.

"We were taken aback by it, but we're resilient, and we're going to press forward," stated Goodhue Mayor Ellen Anderson Buck to Fox 9 at the time.

"I want to emphasize that police coverage will continue in the city of Goodhue," Buck assured. "That is not in question."

Moose Lake accommodates "inmates of the Minnesota Correctional Facility and residents of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program," making up roughly half of the city's population, according to the Star Tribune.

Mayor Shaw attributed the closure of multiple departments in the state to issues with inflation, budget constraints, and state support. "It's indicative of a genuine problem," he remarked.

Neither Mayor Shaw nor the Moose Lake Police Department responded to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

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