How Could Anyone Have Known About Darrion Holiwell?

King County, Washington, Sheriff John Urquhart called it “a slap in the face,” demonstrated a talent for understatement and cluelessness.  Had Darrion Holiwell been a little more gentle with his second and third wives, Urquhart might still be clueless.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Darrion Holiwell, a 19-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was a SWAT officer and the chief firearms instructor who worked at the Ravensdale Range where the agency’s SWAT team trained, in addition to local FBI agents and King County Jail staff.

Plus, he ran his own firearms training business, called Praeter, where he was the star of his own advertisements.


But that capped a laundry list of things Holiwell is accused of doing for which no cool pictures were taken.

Some of the sheriff’s office’s equipment was sold to gun shops and credited in an account listed as belonging to the Sheriff’s Office, but it was not an official account than any of the agency’s accountants knew of. The money was then used to buy more equipment as a “slush fund” for SWAT and for Holliwell’s own gain, Urquhart said.

He also collected the brass shells at the firing range. Waste not, want not, you know.

From 2007 to April 2014, Holiwell exchanged more than 19,000 lbs of metal brass for credit amounting to more than $24,599, investigative documents indicate. He used credit to purchase tactical gear for SWAT and himself, such as clothing, barrel,s flashlights, gun slings and a $1,500 sighting system.

Furthermore, Holiwell turned in used county equipment for thousands more.

But when times got lean, Holiwell is alleged to have a back-up plan.

Separate from the theft allegations, detectives believe Holiwell hired out his estranged wife as an escort between May and September last year. Urquhart says she was a willing participant in the enterprise and that Holiwell took 80 percent of the proceeds.

And then there were the drugs. There had to be drugs, right?

Furthermore, Holiwell is accused of dealing steroids to people inside and outside of the sheriff’s office. He also supplied his wife with marijuana and ecstasy for her to take during her escort appointments.

Busy guy. Busy, busy guy.  Yet, Urquhart was shocked to learn that all this was happening in his department, under his nose, under the nose of his fine law enforcers. Shocked.  But it may not be his fault.

The sheriff’s office is working to determine whether he dealt steroids to colleagues inside the agency. The office is not allowed to screen its employees for steroids, per state law and union agreements, nor is it allowed to research whether employees who are on steroids obtained the drugs by prescription or through illegal means, Urquhart said.

One of the gravest curiosities within law enforcement is that rules exist, ranging from the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights to collective bargaining agreements with police unions, that give cops protections trumping all laws that would apply to the rest of us.

Not satisfied with cops being in the singularly best position to commit crime, from the pedestrian beating of some kid who mouthed off to him on the street to full-scale narcotics dealing, police unions have done everything in their power to assure that any effort to investigate a cop is delayed and stymied to the extent possible.  Because, they are our protectors, and unfairly subject to accusations by the criminal element, making their need for special protections far above those of other citizens manifest.

Negotiating special rights for cops is a no-brainer, as it’s a nonfinancial contract term and easily used to trade off salary and benefit increases.   No pain to the taxpayer, and the union membership is thrilled. Plus, once obtained, the protections are there forever, and there is always the next round of negotiations to get the big money.

Sheriff Urquhart claims he had no clue, even if his SWAT equipment kept disappearing, but that Holiwell’s partner knew.  The other SWAT guys claim they didn’t know either, even though they got to enjoy the new, cool stuff that magically appeared.  And then there was some gal in major crimes.

Holiwell was known to own several firearms, but when deputies served a search warrant at his Seattle home, his gun safe was empty and “not one stray bullet” was found, Urquhart said.

Investigators believe a major crimes investigator tipped Holiwell off to the investigation – she is one of the two others on paid administrative leave. She is being investigated for rendering criminal assistance.

She who must not be named may be Holiwell’s texting buddy. Or maybe not. Who knows?

Holiwell sent a text message to someone in the days before the search warrant was served on his home, indicating he knew he was being investigated.

“The storm is coming but I got something for there [sic] asses,” the text read. “Hang on, it’s about to get real.”

Apparently, the blue brotherhood thing works great when there are drugs, guns, money and prostitution flowing in favor of the cops, but when the “storm is coming,” love and devotion are replaced by threats of violence.  While Holiwell was apparently taken into custody, where he’s held on $150,000 bond, without any shootout, this text would indicate that he wasn’t entirely averse to showing how good his aim was.

And Sheriff Urquhart knew nothing about it.

“The worst part of this is the culture that allowed this to happen in the first place,” Urquhart said.

That would be you, Sheriff. You are responsible for the culture of your office.  Clueless.

H/T Mike Paar

10 comments on “How Could Anyone Have Known About Darrion Holiwell?

  1. Socialist Gumshoe

    The Seattle Police Department has an officer on leave as well from the Southwest Precinct in connection with this case. Seems that he was allegedly buying steroids from Deputy Holiwell.

    It has not been a good couple of months for law enforcement agencies in Western Washington. First the embarrassing lawsuit from the SPD officers, then two members of the Washington State Patrol kill a mentally ill man on the Ship Canal Bridge, and now this mess with the KCSO.

    What’s more is I have a strong sense this situation with Darrion Holiwell is likely to get worse as more investigation is done and additional information becomes available. Sad day for citizens of Seattle as we hear about even more dysfunction in our local law enforcement.

    1. SHG Post author

      I have a strong sense this situation with Darrion Holiwell is likely to get worse…

      You think? There are two choices here. Massive corruption or massive incompetence, and they are not mutually exclusive.

  2. UltravioletAdmin

    Werent’ these guys suppose to be under federal oversight? I know there’s been fallout ever since the Stranger editor was being harassed taking photos of an arrest. I think they also were having their IA guys do patrols instead of IA investigations.

      1. John Barleycorn

        Oversight efficiency and witchcraft. That ought to do it.

        ~~~~The sheriff said the Holiwell probe was handled internally instead of being handed to another agency because the sheriff’s office could conduct the investigation the quickest and most efficiently.

        “We’ll clean our own mess,” he said.~~~~

        And just who wouldn’t vote for a guy that hunts witches?

        ~~~”I am on a witch hunt,” he said Thursday afternoon. “I am on a witch hunt to root out this kind of behavior in the sheriff’s office.”~~~~

    1. Alex Stalker

      The Seattle Police Department (SPD) is under federal oversight as a result of a settlement with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. Although Seattle is located in King County, the King County Sheriff’s Department is a separate agency.

      1. John Barleycorn

        And… since we are going there the Sherriff has just over 1000 employees and he was elected in 2012.

        This particular situation has the potential to reveal if he is threading the needle with his language in preparation to fundamentally replace and sew new canvas for his teepee or is simply trying to maintain appearances with patch work.

        “The storm is coming but I got something for there [sic] asses,” the text read. “Hang on, it’s about to get real.”

        The esteemed one failed to mention that this quote by the accused could also readily be read as a non-violent threat. It could be the accused simply implying if “they” come for him he will play his (potentially only) trump card. That being implicating as many of his associates and superiors in the department that were also culpable and or aware of his actions for years.

        In the meantime, may the hunting of witches and the efficient maintenance of ones own honey bucket commence.

        P.S. Meanwhile, Seattle and King County still have a tunnel that needs to be built and I am still thinking it needs to be tagged with non-permanent stickers of the SJ banner.

  3. Charlesmorrison

    Couple of things stood out. this officer apparently has been alive and breathing during investigations and subsequent prosecutions he has been associated with, right? Yet, he’s stupid enough to send a text?

    Another interesting tidbit: he convinced his estranged wife to engage in prostitution. Now, if that’s the case, this man is awfully persuasive. It makes sense how he pulled the wool over the department’s eyes.

    Urquhart is lucky he wasn’t convinced to prostitute himself by this master manipulator. For the benefit of the department, of course. And ecstasy.

    1. SHG Post author

      I get the sense the ex-wife was only too happy to turn tricks. I don’t know what to make of that.

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