Odds & Ends: The Only Law Dog In Town

Odds & Ends: The Only Law Dog In Town

Devin D. O'Leary
5 min read
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Dateline: New Mexico

With the resignation of the police chief on Wednesday, Sept. 26, the eastern New Mexico town of Vaughn has been left with just one certified member on its police force—a drug-sniffing dog named Nikka. Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo stepped down after news reports surfaced pointing out that he is unable to carry a firearm thanks to his criminal background. State officials ruled that Armijo is decertified as an officer of the law since admitting that he owes tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent child support payments in Texas. Also, the lawman is facing felony charges following accusations of selling a town-owned rifle and keeping the cash for himself. Normally, this would leave Vaughn’s other police officer in charge. Unfortunately, he pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery last year. Since, like Armijo, that officer is also noncertified, he can’t carry guns or make arrests either. Dave Romero, attorney for the town of about 450 people, tried to put a positive spin on things. “England doesn’t allow police officers to carry guns,” he told reporters. “Sometimes the strongest weapon in law enforcement is communication.” At the moment, records indicate the only fully certified police officer in the town is Nikka—whose communication skills are somewhat lacking. Also, since she is under the care of Armijo, it is unclear if she’ll be able to continue her duties. Romero said town officials are considering whether to hire another police chief.

Dateline: Idaho

The bad news is Colbert, Wash., resident Haans Galassi lost four fingers in a wakeboarding accident on Idaho’s Priest Lake. The good news is, one of his digits has been located—inside a fish. According to the
Spokesman-Review newspaper, fisherman Nolan Calvin got the finger while cleaning a trout he caught on Sept. 11. He put it on ice and called Bonner County sheriff’s office. Detectives were able to get a fingerprint off the severed digit and traced it back to Haans Galassi, 31, who lost four fingers from his left hand in a June 21 boating accident. “The sheriff called me and told me he had a strange story to tell me,” Galassi told the newspaper. “He said that a fisherman was out on Priest Lake, and I pretty much knew exactly what he was going to say at that point. I was like: Let me guess, they found my fingers in a fish.” The sheriff’s office reported the trout was caught some eight miles from the spot Galassi last saw his fingers. Galassi had been on a camping trip at the lake when he decided to go wakeboarding. He told the newspaper his fingers got tangled in the towline and he couldn’t pull them out. A boat, conveniently, pulled them out for him. Galassi was rushed by helicopter to the nearest hospital. The sheriff’s office did offer to return the finger. Given the nearly three-month gap, reattaching the finger seems rather unlikely. “I’m like, ‘Uhhh, I’m good,” said Galassi. Detective Sgt. Gary Johnston of the Sheriff’s Office said the agency will keep the finger for a few weeks in case Galassi changes his mind.

Dateline: Florida

Police in Miami Beach allege a homeless man broke into a car in a parking garage and stole someone else’s credit card. The suspect then walked into The Clevelander bar just before midnight, on Monday, Sept. 24, and tried to purchase beer. Unfortunately for the identity thief, the car—and therefore the credit card—belonged to the bartender. The shocked bartender called police, who have charged 53-year-old David Weber with credit card fraud and theft. Weber told police he found the card lying on the ground. He was booked into Miami-Dade County jail the next morning.

Dateline: Arizona

An amateur video-maker wondered what would happen if he dressed his 16-year-old nephew up as a “terrorist” and had him wander around a Phoenix intersection with a fake grenade launcher. Surprisingly—to virtually no one—39-year-old Michael David Turley was arrested and charged with knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and misconduct involving a simulated explosive. Turley posted his video to YouTube claiming it was a response to the
Dark Knight Rises shootings in Aurora, Colorado. The video shows Turley’s teenage nephew walking around dressed in a blue bedsheet and black face covering while carrying a realistic-looking RPG launcher. “I want to find out how safe I really am,” Turley says in the video’s narration. “I want to know the response time of the Phoenix Police Department.” According to the video, it took police 15 minutes to respond. Eerily named police spokesperson Officer James Holmes told reporters that the first cop arrived on the scene three minutes after the initial 911 call. The officer calmly confronted the teen and the cameraman. Turley told the officer they were filming a movie. The officer took down their names and left. After interviewing witnesses and 911 callers and later seeing the YouTube video, police arrested Turley. If convicted, he faces up to 45 months in prison.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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