Police dog only law after chief quits job
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The police chief of the small eastern New Mexico town of Vaughn resigned yesterday, leaving the town with just one certified member on its police force — a drug-sniffing dog named Nikka.
Dave Romero, attorney for the town, said yesterday that police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo decided to step down after news stories reported that he wasn’t allowed to carry a gun because of his criminal background.
“He decided the attention was distracting from everything as he had to do in his position,” Romero said.
State officials said Armijo couldn’t carry a gun since acknowledging owing tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent child-support payments in Texas. Armijo also faces new felony charges after being accused of selling a town-owned rifle and pocketing the cash.
Romero said Armijo is working to clear up the latest case. He said Armijo has not ruled out seeking the police chief’s position again if his case is resolved.
Romero said not having an officer qualified to carry a gun didn’t put Vaughn at risk. “England doesn’t allow police officers to carry guns,” he said.
According to records, the only qualified member of the Vaughn Police Department is Nikka, a drug-sniffing dog. Vaughn’s other officer isn’t certified and pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery last year.