FH's uncle is even more awesome than I realized. One of the reasons FH went into law enforcement was because of the influence from his mom's younger brother as an officer for 20+ years (whom I had never even met until FH's POST graduation).
FH's aunt called him this evening stating that his Uncle Kenny had just been interviewed by FOX News as well as by Judith Miller for City Journal. Whoa, WHAT?! Who gets interviewed by Pulitzer-Prize winners and national news stations? Not anyone that we know...until now.
After dealing with years of an internal investigation involving corrupt cops, DTOs and burned out cars, FH's uncle is finally able to share some experiences from the events.
You can read the whole article by Judith Miller here, while I want to share a few choice snippets from his uncle on the whole affair:
When I read the following paragraph to FH, it hit a little close to home because of the threats they (the corrupt cops) made toward an LEO wife and family:
....Christesen suspected that Tarango had turned other law enforcement officers and local and state officials, and he hoped that the FBI’s investigation would uncover them. But the FBI had to cut short its investigation and move against the three men in December 2007, after agents overheard Tarango and Countryman discussing ways to intimidate and possibly harm a deputy sheriff. Among the tactics they discussed were following the deputy’s wife around town, taking photos of her and her children, leaving a photo of her on her car, throwing hypodermic needles on her lawn, delivering a box filled with dying rats to the family’s home, and leaving a pig’s head on the front porch. They agreed that this might send her a message that “her husband needs to back off,” a court document states, quoting part of an intercepted conversation between Tarango and Countryman. Further, the FBI overheard Tarango telling Countryman that he had watched the family’s home at various hours, and Countryman telling Tarango that this deputy’s “ass needed to be whacked.”
....Christesen, who is now running for sheriff in San Juan County, still fears that Danny Tarango’s web of corruption may have been far broader than the public has been told. In the wake of the Countryman and Salazar arrests, the New Mexico state police’s narcotics division was quietly disbanded and reorganized. The fact that the state said so little about its actions leads Christesen and others to believe that the conspiracy may have involved other, still-unnamed, corrupt cops, border patrol agents, and public officials.
These last two paragraphs were the most poignant to me on the damages a corrupt few can do for entire departments:
...But “law enforcement and the communities they serve have been irreversibly damaged” merely by the information that Salazar and Countryman gave Tarango and his Mexican associates, Christesen wrote in a statement that he gave to prosecutor Swainston. In his own statement, Swainston asserted that nine separate law enforcement agencies in New Mexico and six in Colorado had been damaged by Salazar’s betrayal. “It is hard to imagine anything more frightening for a law enforcement officer than to find out after the fact that those upon whom you just executed a . . . search warrant knew you were coming because one of your own told them so,” Swainston wrote in an impassioned 47-page sentencing memorandum.
“Cops hate these cases, hate to investigate and prosecute them, because it shows we’re not perfect, that we’re vulnerable to corruption like other human beings,” Christesen says. “A Salazar looks bad for all of us. But how many other counties like ours are there in the Southwest? How can we be sure that our law enforcement system isn’t being Mexicanized? I’m worried that they’ll start with bribes, and end as they have in Mexico, with intimidation and murder.”
Though I've only met FH's uncle a few times, I was in the presence of a great man. I'll always know him as Uncle Kenny even though he introduces himself as Ken and looks like a solidly-built male version of FH's mother. He talks with FH on a regular basis over LEO matters and gives him great pointers from a seasoned officer to a rookie.
After I read the article aloud to FH, he firmly and confidently stated, "One day I will achieve that greatness."
"Yeah, OK. Sounds good, Hon. Can you help me give the kids a bath in the mean time?"
My Life Right Now
1 year ago