Socorro County Sheriff William Armijo is not running for re-election. Both of the men who hope to replace him have family ties to local law enforcement.

Republican Lee Armijo, a captain with the sheriff’s office, is cousins with the exiting Sheriff Armijo. Democrat Demecio Silva is cousins with the newly appointed city of Socorro Police Chief Angel Garcia.

Both men also want to change how the sheriff’s office patrols operate to provide a department presence in more areas of the community, but they have different strategies for doing so.

Lee Armijo


Armijo would like to run traffic in problem areas to reduce speeding incidents. He would also regularly rotate areas of the county for officers to patrol during hybrid patrol shifts. Deputies would take calls from specific areas of the county for parts of their shifts and be able to work on reports during parts of their shifts. He would not send an officer on patrol alone.

He thinks the hybrid-patrol model would make the department more accountable to the community and provide the flexibility needed for the small department.

Armijo will have been in law enforcement for 23 years in January, and has been a narcotics detective, captain, senior deputy and regular deputy at the department. Safety in schools and drugs are the top issues, said Armijo.

He believes the department can work with the county and city to come up with a long-term way to provide funding for a school resource officer.

“Drugs in Socorro are bad, but it’s everywhere and not just our community. It’s our state and our country that’s really getting hit hard by these drugs,” said Armijo.

Armijo plans to work with the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office and the city of Socorro to get certified in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, which could bring additional training and funding to the area.

Focusing on community policing is also part of Armijo’s plans for addressing drug sales and domestic violence in the county.

“You can solve a lot of crimes and locate a lot of drug activity just by talking to the people,” said Armijo.

Armijo said the department is currently looking into a retention grant that could give deputies extra money, plus fund two additional position. His other strategy for officer retention is to advocate for more pay from the Socorro County Commission.

Demecio Silva


Demecio Silva has worked for the sheriff’s office previously as a transport officer and reserve deputy. He spent most of his career working for county and then city government, where he was a supervisor for the Socorro County Road Department and a division director for the city.

Silva would have officers patrolling individually if needed so that they can reach more parts of the county and ensure all of the officers learn all of the county roads.

“If there’s going to be two officers working for the day, I want one scheduled south and one scheduled north,” said Silva.

He also plans to have officers patrolling on three shifts: day, mid and graveyard.

Like his opponent, Silva also thinks drugs and working with schools are top priorities in the community.

“We need to get tough on crime, and we need to get definitely tough on drugs,” said Silva. “By no means we’re not going to stop the drugs, but we need to start coming up with different ideas to slow it down, to choke out the different drug dealers that we have in town.”

He believes the Sheriff’s Department should help with active shooter drills in the local schools.

Silva would like to hire a grant writer to pursue grant funds that could be used to help with officer retention.

“Most importantly is getting grants programs into our schools and communicating with our kids, talking with our kids,” said Silva.

He is also focused on improving the department’s ability to respond to incidents in Alamo, which would require agreements with the chapter government and the Navajo Nation government.

“When you get up and call 911, you need them there as quick as possible. Not four hours, not five hours,” said Silva.

The general election will be Nov. 8. Early voting has already begun.