Fleming pictured above
Record Staff Writer
A third man has joined the fray, announcing his candidacy for the office of Chaves County sheriff, Friday.
Arthur L. Fleming is a personable man with an abiding love of the community. He attended El Capitan Elementary, Sierra Middle School and Roswell High, where he played football and was an active member of FFA. He returned to Roswell after two years in Ruidoso and has been working for New Mexico Gas ever since.
Fleming describes himself as a Christian and God-fearing man. His family has deep roots in Roswell, going back generations, and he has a grassroots approach to campaigning.
“I like people; I’m a people person. I talk to people face-to-face. I want to be a sheriff people can talk to. We have to listen and hear what people have to say to make a change,” he said.
Fleming has 16 years of law enforcement experience with the New Mexico Mounted Patrol. The NMMP often acts behind the scenes. It works with the Roswell Police Department, during the Southeast New Mexico State Fair and on as-needed basis. They work with Chaves County Sheriff’s Office and Game and Fish.
Fleming and others were called to lend their support to the New Mexico State Police after the Berrendo Middle School shooting.
Fleming joined the NMMP in 1998 and knows its history.
“It was created by statute to work with any local, state and law enforcement, carrying the same power of arrest. We are commissioned and certified. The Mounted Patrol trooper can be called into duty at any moment. We do not get paid. We are all voluntary. We pay for everything ourselves — insurance on cars, uniforms, vests, everything.”
NMMP has a separate academy where they hold classes, using the same curriculum as the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy, but the schedule is structured to suit a volunteer candidate.
“We get the same psychological evaluations, background checks and fingerprinting,” said Fleming.
Despite their volunteer status, patrol members keep their hours, which they send in to the state. Fleming belongs to NMMP Troop 13.
Fleming wants to provide an alternative. He does not believe in hard lines between city, county, state and federal law enforcement — perhaps because he’s worked with all of them. He believes in cooperation between agencies.
“We need to bring all law enforcement together. That way we will make a safer community together.”
Fleming also does not believe in hard divisions between law enforcement and the people.
“It’s not just police; it’s not just people, it takes all of us to make a difference. One thing we need to remember, we all live in this Chaves County. We’re all one community and I want to make a better place for everybody.”
However, he does take a hard line on participation. “You see officers are needing help. There’s not enough of them to go around. It’s nice to offer that help. Somebody has to stop griping and make a difference.
“I enjoy law enforcement. I have done 16 years for free. You could say I have a passion for it. It’s giving back to the community, someway, somehow.”
As a trooper, he admits: “You see what the average person does not see … and in the end, you want to see change.”
He refuses to criticize either the current administration — “I work with them and they’re great guys.” — or the other candidates.
“I want to run a good clean campaign. There will be no mudslinging here, that’s not what it’s about.”
Fleming emphasizes that he also has experience with the mundane, everyday duties of administration.
“I have years of administrative experience with the gas company. I head a crew and deal with paperwork, budgets, personnel, regulations and documentation, everyday. All mounted patrol have administrative experience.”
Speaking about the campaign, he concluded: “Win, lose or draw, I will always serve my community.”
For more information, check out artforsheriff.com.