A Missouri police chief and all of his officers resigned, citing a variety of reasons ranging from low pay to a lack of appropriate tools for the job, leaving local officials scrambling to fill the positions as many departments struggle to keep staffing levels during the anti-police climate that has swept the country.

Calls will be handled by the Stone County Sheriff’s Department until city officials can fill the vacancies left by the former officers, Washington Examiner reported.

“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,” Sheriff Doug Rader said.

“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,” Sheriff Rader continued.

Rader’s comment comes after Kimberling City Police Chief Craig Alexander resigned on Aug. 23 after accepting a new job position, informing the town’s mayor Bob Fritz that he wanted a change and to better himself.

“I didn’t know there were that many openings in Branson West because we didn’t see an advertisements for police,” Fritz said. “We’re looking for officers, we’re looking for a new police chief and I think we’ll be fine.”

But Alexander was not alone; three officers and a sergeant soon joined him.

The resignations come as small-town police departments throughout the country struggle to keep staffing levels up as crime levels rise, and after more than a year of politicians and activists pushing for departments to be defunded.

Police departments in larger cities have also battled with staffing as a result of anti-police sentiment and local politicians’ backing for the defunding movement last summer.

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