Staffing issues lead to the demise of the Minnesota Police Department

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MORRIS, Minn. (AP) — Local leaders in a western Minnesota town have voted to disband the police department, which has been reduced to just two officers, including the chief.

The City of Morris, like other communities across the country, is facing changing attitudes toward policing and challenges in recruiting and retaining officers.

Morris, with a population of around 5,200, provided eight full-time officers and an administrative specialist.

The Morris City Council plans to sign a law enforcement services contract with the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office and shut down a police department that has been around for more than 140 years.

“It’s a sad day. Nobody wants to see that happen,” said City Manager Blaine Hill. “People ask, ‘How on earth could a town the size of Morris not have a police department?’ We live in a different world now.

Nationally, law enforcement can only fill 93% of available positions, according to the nonprofit Police Executive Search Forum, which surveyed nearly 200 police departments last year. , reported the Star Tribune.

The profession is in the midst of a 25-year low of new officers entering the field. At the same time, officers are retiring and resigning at increased levels.

Stevens County Administrator Rebecca Young said the county council will discuss the arrangement at its meeting on Tuesday and could vote on whether to approve an interim deal for the rest of the year, as well as a long-term agreement starting January 1.

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