In a vote held at the Moose Lake City Council on Wednesday night, the government body voted to disband the city's police department.

The 3-2 vote, as reported by our news partners at WDIO, came as a culmination of a conversation being held by city leaders about the future of the city's department due to a growing increase in the costs to the city.

Reasons behind the decision

Moose Lake, which is home to 2,600 people, would need to spend 87% of its 2024 city budget on its police force to keep it an independent entity this year. While police departments tend to be one of the bigger expenditures on city budgets around the country, having nearly 90% of your city budget devoted to one thing can create clear challenges.

Ballooning costs, particularly health insurance, have created a lot of pressure on the city's budget. The Moose Lake City Council explored a few options that included maintaining a small number of officers or contracting with the county sheriff's department to provide law enforcement services.

Moose Lake's mayor encouraged the council to thoroughly consider their decision before acting, warning that if there was a desire to bring back a city police force, it would be very expensive to do so.

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In Wednesday night's vote, the decision was made to proceed with the idea of contracting with the Carlton County Sherriff's Department for services.

The idea of a city disbanding its police department is not new in Minnesota. MPR reports that about three dozen police departments have been disbanded due to high costs and difficulties in hiring officers.

What's next for police coverage in Moose Lake

The Carlton County Sherriff told Northern News Now that citizens in Moose Lake will hardly notice a difference as the county officers take over law enforcement duties in the city. He said officers designated to serve in the role will "integrate themselves", getting to know residents in the same way as their local police officers previously had.

Some of the details of the agreement between the city and county still need to be ironed out, but the city has made plans to be sure there is no lapse in law enforcement coverage as they transition to the new plan.

20 Most Expensive Counties In Minnesota To Live In

According to 2022 data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

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