A Las Cruces man facing charges for firing a weapon at police officers in 2014 was sentenced to two years probation on Tuesday
Police say Rick Williams Toombs, 42, was intoxicated and armed with a loaded shotgun when he fired at the officers.
"This is a hard reaction to tell you the truth," police Chief Jaime Montoya.
Montoya expressed his concerns to ABC-7 after he learned Toombs was handed two years probation for firing several rounds at Las Cruces police after being called to a family dispute.
Toombs could have faced a six-year prison sentence.
"It is not a deterrent to society in general when someone fires a couple rounds at an officer and he gets what's called a slap on the wrist," Montoya said.
District Judge Fernando Macias defends the sentence telling ABC-7 Toombs has a spotless criminal history and deserved a second chance.
In a statement Macias told ABC-7:
"He actually is one individual who has made great progress on his education, and can be what I consider to be a productive citizen with a good opportunity to have good employment and support his family."
Montoya says shooting at any police officer should carry stiff penalties.
"Most people in the department that you talk to, especially officers that put their lives on the line every day when they come to work, they would expect the same thing. 'If you're going to attack me, well then the repercussion is you're going to spend some prison time,'" Montoya said.
Montoya added police across the nation are being attacked and targeted and officers feel like they don't have support in some instances.
Judge Macias said:
"Every situation has to be evaluated on its own. You can't allow other incidents and other individuals to basically influence the situation in front of you."
Meanwhile Montoya tells ABC-7 he will stand behind his officers concerns but also respects the judge's decision. He wishes the court could gotten feedback from the officers involved.
"It would of been nice to have the officers there to talk to Judge Macias and be part of the sentencing so he could hear the officers point of view and how they felt. Maybe it wouldn't of influenced him but it would of been nice to see that happen," Montoya said.
Macias says Toombs will have a very restricted life for the next two years and if he gets through it he can put it behind him and have a second chance at a productive life.