A KOP 4 story covers a bizarre case: in the small New Mexico town of Vaughn, none of the police officers can carry firearms.
It’s reminiscent of well-meaning deputy sheriff Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show, who was only allowed to carry a single bullet in his shirt pocket “in case of an emergency.” The writers used Barney to poke fun at the low crime and neighborly attitudes of small communities, but it actually looks like we’ve got a similar case in New Mexico.
The tiny town of Vaughn, which only has about 500 residents, has such an incredibly low crime rate that they get by with just two police officers. And for completely unrelated reasons, neither of these officers is allowed to carry a gun.
Ernest “Chris” Armijo, the Vaughn police chief, fell behind more than $52,000 in child support. He pled guilty to this felony charge – and, of course, convicted felons can’t carry firearms. So, Armijo has had to resort to mace, tasers, and (allegedly) a rubber gun that he’d painted black.
Well, if Armijo does happen to cross paths with an actual gun-wielding criminal, he’s got somebody he can call for backup, right? Brian Bernal, Vaughn’s second police officer, can’t carry guns either. Technically, he isn’t even a real cop! Bernal never attended the state’s law enforcement academy and lacks the necessary certification. To make matters worse, Bernal was convicted of a domestic violence charge, which means that he’s not allowed to own a firearm or ammunition.
As ridiculous as all of this seems, the quiet folks of Vaughn don’t have to rely entirely on themselves to stave off criminals. The Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Department covers the sleepy town. And you can rest assured: they are allowed to carry guns.