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Troubled Cibola County facing officer shortage

GRANTS, N.M. — A financially strapped New Mexico county is facing an officer and deputy shortage, and New Mexico State Police say they can’t become the permanent replacement.

The Gallup Independent reports Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace said last week his department is down to four deputies, a detective, a lieutenant, and a courtroom security officer to patrol the vast 4,500-square-mile (11,654-square-kilometer) area.

Grants Police Chief Steve Chavez heads the police department in the county’s largest city. He says he just lost five officers in a month.

The shortage comes as the county of 21,000 people is struggling with its budget and officers leave for higher-paying jobs.

State Police Capt. Eric Schum says the county needs to hire more deputies since state police also have limited resources.

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Information from: Gallup Independent, http://www.gallupindependent.com

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