With police chief gone, Lake Arthur residents wonder who will protect them
April 16, 2018 06:41 PM
LAKE ARTHUR, N.M. – A small town in southeastern New Mexico no longer has a police chief, essentially losing its police department.
Last week, Chief William Norwood handed Mayor Ysidro Salazar his letter of resignation. The decision to leave follows a report from the Bloomberg News over a reserve police program he started. The article suggested about 150 off-duty officers took advantage of the program to find a loophole to carry a weapon in any state.
The mayor said the program got out of control and dissolved it. When Salazar accepted Norwood's resignation letter, the town was left wondering who will enforce the law.
Lake Arthur residents will have to rely on the Chaves County Sheriff's Office and police departments of the cities nearby, Salazar said. A server at the Lake Arthur JOY Center said she has had to rely on the sheriff's office before.
"It’s horrible because if you call the sheriff's department, they don't come when you call," said Lupe Salmon.
Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder said there will be routine patrols to help improve response times. He said he understands it's difficult when a town does not have enough or any law enforcement and will help out as much as possible.
"I hope. I hope really," Salmon said. "I don’t want to have to call them, but I just hope they will respond to us."
Salazar said he saw the sheriff’s office patrolling the area over the weekend and, like Salmon, hopes it continues. Salazar mentioned he is considering appointing a certified officer as the town’s patrol officer.
The mayor will hold a meeting on May 10 at 7 p.m. at the town hall to decide what will happen with the police chief position.
Created: April 16, 2018 06:41 PM
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