LEA COUNTY, NM -
The Lea County Sheriff's Office will meet with New Mexico State Police and the District Attorney to swear in members of the sheriff's office as New Mexico Mounted Patrol Officers, according to information provided by New Mexico State Police.
The meeting was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on January 29, and comes after confusion about the authority of deputies after the sudden loss of the sheriff.
"As sworn commissioned personnel under Sheriff Ackerman, the Lea County Deputies could enforce the laws and civil service under his authority. But now, there is concern whether they still have that authority until a new sheriff is sworn into office and can swear in the Lea County Commissioned Deputies under their command," New Mexico State Police said.
The mounted patrol officers will enable the commissioned deputies to have "full police powers," and the sheriff's office will "be able to resume functioning as a law enforcement entity.
"The State Police, are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the citizens of Lea County have Law Enforcement services," said New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas in a statement. "I'm willing to swear in the commissioned Lea County Deputies as New Mexico Mounted Patrol Officers under my authority until the Lea County Commission appoints a new Sheriff."
A statement indicated that Chief Kassestas, District Attorney Dianna Luce and Undersheriff Tom Dunford, "attained a solution to resolve the issue involving the commissioning of the Lea County Sheriff's Office personnel."
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