CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico police chief has been charged with impersonating a police officer. How can that be? It’s because he made a traffic stop in a different town than where he works. This is not the first time this lawman has been in trouble with the law.
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Loving Police Chief Frank Methola was in Carlsbad when he made the stop and the district attorney says he didn’t have the right to do that. Now, he’s facing two misdemeanor charges from that traffic stop on August 26. Methola was in a marked Loving Police patrol unit as he entered the city limits of Carlsbad.
He attempted a traffic stop on a white pickup truck after the driver failed to come to a full stop. The criminal complaint states Methola then followed the vehicle until he came to a stop at Old Cavern Highway and Rose Street in Carlsbad. Methola was in full uniform and displayed his Loving police badge. The driver of the truck started to yell at Methola stating, he did not have any jurisdiction or authority to pull him over.
Chief Methola then tased the driver, placed him in handcuffs, and detained him. The driver was never arrested or issued a citation. This is not the first time Loving Police Chief Frank Methola has been charged. When he was a Valencia County deputy he totaled two units in 2009 and 2010.
“The deputy is on suspension for a prior incident, but like I said, it’s under internal affairs investigation, in addition, to actually investigating the crash from state police,” said Deputy Chris Trujillo with the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department.
Methola pled no contest in one of those crashes to not operating his lights and sirens when he hit another vehicle. He had to apologize to the other driver. Investigators say Chief Methola does not have or has been issued a commission card by the Eddy County sheriff which means he is not allowed to make police stops in the county.
The Eddy County district attorney charged him with impersonating a police officer and battery. Investigators tried three times to interview Chief Methola and could not get him to talk.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the Eddy County district attorney and the sheriff for comment but the district attorney did not get back and the sheriff didn’t want to comment on an active investigation. KRQE also called the Loving Police Department and was told they didn’t know about the charges and KRQE would have to speak to the public information officer for comment who was not in on Monday.
Chief Frank Methola will be arraigned on these charges on December 20.