New Mexico Town Down to Just One Police Officer: A Dog Named NikkaS

Scandal after scandal have left the town of Vaughn, New Mexico, with only a single certified police officer: A drug-sniffing dog.

After it emerged that Vaughn's Chief of Police owed tens of thousands in child support payments and was also charged with selling a police rifle for personal gain, Ernest "Chris" Armijo decided to step down to avoid further "distraction."

This latest development follows similar legal trouble for the town's only other human officer, who pleaded guilty to assault and battery last year and isn't allowed to carry a weapon or make arrests.

This leaves Nikka, the Vaughn Police Department's K-9, as the only certified police force member in town.

The sheriff of Guadalupe County, in which Vaughn is seated, has sent deputies to patrol the area, but expressed concern for the strain being put on his "already short-staffed department."

Meanwhile, Vaughn's attorney, Dave Romero, told the Associated Press a new police chief might be hired despite Armijo's intention to reclaim the post once his cases are settled.

He wasn't particularly worried about Vaughn's non-certified police officer being unable to carry a gun, saying "England doesn't allow police officers to carry guns," and adding, "sometime the strongest weapon in law enforcement is communication."

A resident who spoke with the AP was also unperturbed, telling the news agency "There's just a whole lot of nothing going on here. We have very little crime. It's quiet. So this really doesn't matter."

[screengrab via KRQE]