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Albuquerque Top Cop Darren White Suddenly Quits: Investigation of His Suspect Actions Urged

| July 17, 2011

Former Albuquerque Public Safety Officer Darren White suddenly quit his super important job this week in the mist of a sustained public outcry and calls from several Albuquerque City Counsel members for an independent outside investigation into his actions regarding his wife’s car crash.  He also abruptly quit his position on the New Mexico Judicial Standards board, a position that many critics believed he had no business being appointed to in the first place.

This is the same Darren White who apparently sports a tattoo of Ronald Reagan’s signature on his anklet.

Mr. White, an alleged “media chaser” accused of showing up on the news virtually every chance he gets to talk about how proud he is of himself, a grandstanding politician according to many, will presumably slink away into the night for a while. In recent days, Mr. White and his wife Kathleen White, formerly known as Kathleen McConnell, are alleged to have left the state and headed to New York. No word on whether they drove out-of-town in her black Porsche convertible, or flew.

Just over a week ago, Mr. White and others were frantically trying to put out the raging fire at the Albuquerque Police Department regarding other alleged instances of police misconduct.  There have been something like 18 police shootings in the last year or so, with about 13 deaths.  At least one of those police officers had described his job as “human waste disposal” before shooting a suspect to death.  Another APD officer posted material on Facebook that drew fire.  The Albuquerque Journal called it a “stain on the department”.

In light of Mr. White’s recent actions, many are now predicting that current APD Chief Ray Schultz’ own days are numbered.  Mr. White and Mr. Schultz are rumored to be very close.

Some believe Mr. White may have quit his public position in an effort to head off an official investigation into his suspect actions at the scene of his wife’s accident. Possible misconduct by Mr. White, a former Bernalillo County Sheriff and failed candidate for Congress, might include obstruction of a police investigation, conspiracy, and tampering with evidence.  At this point it’s unclear what’s going to happen. Many are calling for a truly independent investigation by someone from out-of-state to avoid a “white wash”.  In fact, some are already calling this WhiteWashGate.

This hasn’t been a good year for sheriffs in New Mexico.  Former Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano was recently indicted on over 200 counts of embezzlement for allegedly stealing over $73,000 worth of items from the County of Santa Sheriff’s Department and selling them on eBay. Solano is also accused of hiring a cousin as an evidence specialist, a cousin who had apparently admitted to bank fraud in Colorado.

Mr. White was elected Bernalillo County Sheriff in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. Prior to his election as Sheriff, he served as Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety in the Cabinet of Governor Gary Johnson. White abruptly resigned his Cabinet position after Governor Johnson began advocating the legalization of marijuana. In December 2009, Mr. White was appointed Chief Public Safety Officer for the City of Albuquerque by the newly-elected Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry.

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