Lee Armijo is currently a captain in the Socorro County Sheriff's Office, where he works to keep the peace in our local county.
How did you get into law enforcement?
I just hit my 20th year in law enforcement. This will be my fourth year in my position here. I was hired by Felix Saavedra back in 2001, which brought me to this facility.
Why did they decide to hire you in Socorro law enforcement?
I was already certified and was working with the New Mexico Tech Security office at the time. I wanted to work for the sheriff's office and take a step forward career-wise. The office decided to bring me on based on my work ethic, which is something that I stand by.
Who do you report to in your office?
I have Sheriff William Armijo and the Under Sheriff Amanda Vega guiding myself as a captain. This is the greatest place to work. I have two great bosses.
What type of techniques do you try to instill for those coming up in law enforcement?
We try to pass on our knowledge and guidance. How to handle things and do things properly on the job. We’re a pretty close department and try to make sure that all of our officers take care of business in the correct way to keep citizens as well as officers safe. Ultimately they are my friends and co-workers, so these guys here in the office are my top priority.
What are your day to day activities?
Checking e-mails and phone calls. I am also responsible for keeping the sex offender database up to date, which includes making sure homes and vehicles are up to date. I do assistance in the field when needed, but mostly I'm involved with the office. Scheduling patrol areas in which we receive multiple citizen complaints that officers monitor around the county.
What types of hours do you work?
I typically work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shifts as I am mainly in the office Monday to Friday. Our deputy's typically work 4 ten-hour shifts a week. Myself, as well as several members in our office, always are on call to help keep our community safe 24/7.
Are there extra duties that you are responsible for?
There isn’t one big thing in my position. It’s about a lot of different things. I make sure that the guys are both taken care of as well as getting their stuff done. We have to be correct with the equipment our officers are sent out with as well as they come back with the proper attire. I am also a firearms and use-of-force instructor here with detective Padilla. We use the New Mexico Tech Shooting Range to help train new recruits in the proper use of firearms training.
How does the training process work?
It's all baby steps. We get an annual training booklet from Santa Fe, which covers simple methods such as stance when garnering a firearm that our staff continually learns from. Several hours are required for our officers. Not just stance but also training yourself in the proper way to breath during an intense situation is very important. We want our officers to be effective in the correct way if the use of force is called for while also maintaining safety for a potential suspect.
What are the biggest struggles for your office?
Our laws are getting easier on the criminals, and that is statewide. We arrest criminals, and it is becoming easier for them to be back on the streets, which makes it difficult for our officers to combat criminal activity.
A few questions about yourself. Are you born and raised in Socorro?
Born and raised. I lived in Las Cruces for a brief period when I went to college at New Mexico State. I never finished my degree but went there initially because I had family in the area before returning here.
What did you do once you returned to Socorro?
I got a job over at the Detention Center for a brief time. I have a lot of family in the field, and in some way, I always knew that I was always going to end up in law enforcement. When I was going to school, I was studying in the medical field, but it was not for me. From there, I went to New Mexico Tech in security.
How was that experience?
It was very relaxed. But it was quiet, and I was young, so I wanted excitement. I would hear about what my friends were doing, which is why I eventually joined the sheriff's office. I was 23 at the time, and I've been here for 19 years.
What is your family situation like?
My mother has passed. My father, Lydio Armijo, a former New Tech Police Officer, recently had a stroke, so he is staying in Albuquerque. My brother Adrian Armijo recently retired from New Mexico State as the Deputy Chief. I also have four kids. My eldest daughter is Alena, who is 23, followed by my eldest son Joshua, Bryan, and my youngest Anissa. I have been blessed with tremendous kids.
A few random questions, what is your favorite movie?
“Kingpin” comes to mind first. I also loved the new “Three Stooges” movie. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a clown who likes to laugh as much as possible.
What is your favorite type of music?
I like rock. Hard rock such as Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica. Anything that gets me pumped up.
What is your favorite thing to do recreationally?
Hunting, especially with my kids. It’s something that we do and bond together. There’s no distractions or cell phones. For a bit of time we can just be together. For example, my younger kids shooting their first big game this past year was a great way for us to be together and learn about each other.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Here. I love my community. This is the best place to be. If it wasn’t here, probably Alaska. Not a lot of people and beautiful scenery everywhere you look.
If there was one thing that you could change about Socorro, what would it be?
Drugs. Drugs is the biggest problem we have in our community and in our country. Almost all crime our office deals with has something to do with drugs. It's out of control, and the only way, in my opinion, is to combat it with education and stricter laws. We're losing the battle, and I don't know how to fix it.