VIDEO: NM Deputies Can’t Enforce Law After Death of Sheriff

Deputies in Lea County, NM, are powerless — they’re not allowed to make any arrests or traffic stops after their sheriff unexpectedly died earlier this month.

Lea County Sheriff Steve Ackerman was killed in a rollover crash that left the county without a sheriff. Now, county commissioners are trying to fill his spot. The only problem, Lea County Sheriff’s deputies are not allowed to arrest anyone until that position is filled and that person gives them their power back. That decision was made by the District Attorney based on a state statute.

In a statement to KRQE News 13, Lea County Commissioner Ron Black said the county will be interviewing possible candidates on Feb. 6 and hope to appoint someone soon after. State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said he will be sending officers from Eddie and Chavez Counties to help out.


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