A drug-sniffing dog is the only certified member of the police force in the small eastern New Mexico town of Vaughn, reports the Associated Press. Police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo stepped down yesterday after news stories reported that he wasn’t allowed to carry a gun because of his criminal background. “He decided the attention was distracting,” said Dave Romero, an attorney for the town.
State officials said Armijo couldn’t carry a gun since acknowledging that he owed tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent child support payments in Texas. Armijo faces new felony charges after being accused of selling a town-owned rifle and pocketing the cash. 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. Noncertified officers can’t make arrests and can’t carry firearms. The town is deep in what federal officials say is an isolated region of the state popular with drug traffickers.