Vaughn, New Mexico, has 500 residents, two schools and a few watering holes. But the town's only two police officers both have criminal records and neither is allowed to carry a gun.
KOB.com reports that Vaughn Police Chief Ernest "Chris" Armijo and officer Brian Bernal have both had run-ins with the law despite being law enforcement officers.
Armijo lost his gun privileges after he was arrested by the New Mexico State Police and indicted on delinquent child support payments. He has two sons, ages 10 and 12.
"I was unable to make the amount that was being required and I got behind. Its hard, because if you're not making enough to do it then what do you do?" Armijo told KOB. "It's something I didn't take care of and I know that I should have."
But Armijo is also being investigated after witnesses accused him of improperly using a K-9 in the line of duty and of abusing the dog. Armijo denies both accusations. He faces other accusations of misconduct as well, including claims that he sold an assault rifle to another officer.
In January 2011, Bernal plead guilty to charges of assault and battery. KOB also notes he has not attended the state's law enforcement academy, meaning he is not even a certified cop.
Armijo says neither he nor Bernal needs guns to handle the jobs they have.
"We have tasers, batons, mace … stuff like that," Armijo said. "This isn't a TV show. This is life. We don't run in everyday with a gun drawn. Life isn't in a pistol grip. It's how you talk to people. I wasn't the type of person to go, 'I'm a cop now give me my badge and my chip on my shoulder.' That's not me."
- Politics & Government
- Crime & Justice
- New Mexico State Police