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