Shared from the 11/18/2020 Hobbs News Sun eEdition

‘Fake officer’ allegedly making traffic stops

A “Lea County Officer” in a black charger allegedly pulled over a man between Hobbs and Lovington. However, there is no group in Lea County that refers to themselves as “Lea County Officers.”

On Monday, Rico Granger posted in the Hobbs 411 social media group enquiring to the public about a group referring to themselves as “Lea County Officers.”

Public Information Officer, Deputy Vivian Martinez with the Lea County Sheriff’s Office clarified a deputy would never refer to themselves as a Lea County Sheriff’s Officer.

“There is no such group (Lea County Officers) affiliated with the Lea County Sheriff’s Office or approved and designated by the Lea County Sheriff, Corey Helton,” Martinez clarified.

Granger said his brother-in-law was recently pulled over by an all-black charger with no markings. The man posing as an officer was allegedly wearing a uniform, which identified him as a “Lea County Officer.” Granger said the “officer” was armed and gave a warning during the stop.

The man posing as an officer allegedly told the brother-in-law he was not associated with the Sheriff’s Department and referred to himself only as a “Lea County Officer.”

Captain Shane Blevins, with Hobbs Police Department, clarified HPD officers are required to identify themselves when they pull over a vehicle.

“We have rules and regulations and policies set forth on what we say to people,” Blevins said. He said an HPD officer will say their name, that they are with HPD, and the reason they pulled you over.

Blevins clarified both the LCSO’s and HPD drive black chargers; however, they will have logos to identify themselves. Martinez said the LCSO vehicles have emergency lights and identifiers to LCSO.

For public safety, Martinez clarified all officers and deputies, including New Mexico State Police, will be clearly identifiable by their uniform displaying their badge of office and an agency patch on their uniform.

Captian Lance Bateman with the New Mexico State Police said a State Police officer will identify themselves as a State officer and not affiliate themselves with any county. He does remember during the last couple of years in southeast New Mexico, arrests have been made of individuals impersonating officers.

“We see most of these complaints of possible impersonating officers at night because during the day a police officer can drive by and notice,” Bateman said.

Martinez said Helton has not received any phone calls regarding the situation, and in situations like this, he usually does.

“Sheriff Helton wants people to be advised if there is any question regarding the legitimacy about the traffic stop to please call 911,” Martinez said.

Bateman confirmed that if anyone is weary of a traffic stop they should turn on their hazard lights, continuing driving without speeding up, and call 911.

“911 will be able to tell if one of the officers is trying to do a traffic stop,” Bateman explained. “They can inform that officer and also relay it to the person, that is a legit officer.”

If you have any information regarding someone posing as an officer and identifying themselves as a “Lea County Officer” contact Hobbs Police Department at 575-397-9265 or Lea County Sheriff’s Officer at 575-396-3611.

Christina Rankin may be reached at

See this article in the e-Edition Here