Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon announced Wednesday that the SO is now up to full staff. “We have been running between 85 to 90 percent for a while now. We’re up to 100 percent. There are not many agencies of this size in the state (that) can say that. It’s a kind of a milestone.”
Law enforcement agencies across the state are suffering from staff shortages. Roswell Police Department numbers plummeted until the department was down 25 officers. Vacancies have now been lowered to 15 and hiring continues. The New Mexico State Police is also recruiting in many areas.
The SO recently hired two people to become sworn officers to fill the remaining vacancies. Both officials have previous law enforcement experience. “One is a retired FBI agent. The second is an officer from another local agency,” Coon said.
The former agent is also former District 57 State Representative Dennis Kintigh. Besides his FBI experience, Kintigh acted as the RPD interim chief, after Police Chief Rob Smith retired. Coon said that Kintigh will be working in the SO Criminal Investigation Division. “He’s going to be an asset. He will be especially valuable on our most recent homicides.”
Coon said he will be sending three to attend the New Mexico Police Academy soon. Kintigh will also attend in order to receive a certificate by waiver, required for those individuals whose certification has become inactive or for those officers who worked in another state or with the federal government.
Coon said the Sheriff’s Office had a big break in the Chaves County homicides when they learned the identity of Charlie Molinas. “They are busy following up on tips and leads. We are trying to trace the activities of the two victims (Molinas and Mark Walters). We could still use more information.” He urged people to contact the SO at 624-6500 or Crime Stoppers 888-594-TIPS (8477).
He added: “I’m tickled to death that we’re at 100 percent, and I wanted the people of the county to know.”