The Vaughn, New Mexico Police Department has quite a recent history – and we just hope 2012 was the low point. That’s when the police chief and only officer were barred from carrying guns due to their criminal past. As a result, the only certified member of the force was Nikka the police dog.
Vaughn, NM goes to the dogs
In September 2012, the attorney for the town of Vaughn announced the resignation of Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo.
News stories revealed that Armijo had been carrying a fake gun for months because he was not allowed to carry a real one. First, he was convicted of a felony back in Texas for owing tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent child support payments. But perhaps more concerning is that a few months prior he was also accused of illegally selling someone a police rifle and then keeping the cash for himself.
The town did not release the official reason for Armijo’s departure. But we have some good guesses about why the job didn’t work out for him.
There was another officer in Vaughn’s police force at the time. But he had just pled building to domestic violence charges that prevented him from having a gun. At the very least, CBS News (cited below) implied that if he was still part of the force, he was not a certified officer, and that would not only prevent him from carrying a gun but from making arrests as well.
According to records, that left only one certified member of the police force in good standing. Their drug-sniffing dog, Nikka.
Nikka the police dog gets a promotion
According to CBS News at the time: “Officials in the town of 450 people, about 100 miles east of Albuquerque, are considering whether to hire another police chief or keep the department staffed with just one officer...” It was unclear if the town would be able to keep the police dog since it was in Armijo’s care.
Residents said they were largely unconcerned because Vaughn had always been a quiet town with little crime.
It’s unclear how it all played out for the town or Nikka the police dog. Today the town is listed as having just one full-time sworn officer – and we’re going to assume it’s a human. — WTF fun facts
* Thanks to the reader who sent in this gem!
Source: “Nikka the police dog is only cop in N.M. town after chief resigns” — CBS News