Decatur officer should face stiff consequences
Communities depend on the service provided by police officers, who are often underpaid, overworked and always in the line of fire.
But Decatur Police Sgt. Faron White, who was named the 2007 officer of the year by the local American Legion and has been with the department for 22 years, has cast an undeserved shadow for law enforcement and made headlines nationwide after White was arrested in Las Vegas Monday and charged with first-degree theft.
White, the 48-year-old head of the city's organized crime unit, was reported missing by his family last Saturday after he didn't come home from work Friday evening, and police found evidence of a struggle in White's office, according to media reports.
Authorities said White, a married father of three children, stole $2,500 in confiscated drug money from an evidence safe and staged his disappearance because of personal problems and gambling debts. Sarah Richardson, 29, a department volunteer, was also arrested and charged with first-degree hindering prosecution or apprehension for helping White disappear. In a statement to police, Richardson claims White, who was fired Tuesday, may have stolen as much as $70,000, according to The Decatur Daily.
It is a shame that the actions of one individual can affect an entire department, and the consequences should be stiff for a person who triggered a major search-and-rescue effort last weekend and lost credibility for his unit.