Accused fire captain resigns

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Alleged victim files internal claim against Los Alamos County

By Carol A. Clark

The Los Alamos fire captain charged with reportedly videotaping a female firefighter in a station bathroom resigned Wednesday afternoon.

Capt. Aaron Adair, 36, had been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 18 when police charged him with voyeurism and tampering with evidence.

“I did get a letter of resignation from Aaron Adair this afternoon and it is effective immediately,” Fire Chief Doug Tucker said Wednesday.

Los Alamos County Attorney Randy Autio confirmed that alleged victim Jessica Noah filed a claim against Los Alamos County Wednesday.

“She filed an internal claim that there are policies that may have caused her some harm and we’re looking into that claim,” he said. “I can’t comment further because of the obvious personnel nature of the claim.”

Autio also confirmed that Noah, 28, remains on paid administrative leave.

Noah’s attorney, John Day of Santa Fe declined to discuss the case saying only, “We have no comment on the county attorney’s statements to the media.”

On Oct. 18, Noah allegedly discovered a small camera inside a paper towel dispenser in the bathroom at Station 3 in White Rock, according to the statement of probable cause. She told police the dispenser became difficult to operate so she opened its cover to determine if the batteries needed replacement. That is when she discovered the camera wedged between the side of the dispenser and the paper towel roll.

The criminal complaint filed against Adair in Magistrate Court states that he used a small black video camera, “to videotape the intimate areas of another person without the knowledge or consent of that person.”

In this case, Adair allegedly videotaped the 28-year-old woman in the shower area of the station’s co-ed bathroom facility. An additional tampering with evidence charge stems from his alleged destruction of the camera’s Secure Digital (SD) card.

Adair told police that he placed the SD card inside an orange squash he had at his home, according to the statement of probable cause, and drove to the shooting range area in Rendija Canyon and pitched the squash out the window of his vehicle.

Adair granted police permission to enter his home and retrieve his computer and laptop to determine if either contained inappropriate videos. They did not and were later returned to Adair, according to police.
All 15 computers at Fire Station 3 were seized for review by county IT professionals, who made images of the hard drives to be entered into evidence.

Deputy Police Chief Kevin Purtymun said this morning that the computers were free of administrative violations.

Adair has a wife and five daughters and worked for LAFD for 11 years. He waived arraignment and is set to attend a pre-trial hearing in the criminal matter in Los Alamos Magistrate Court Dec. 21. If convicted, Adair faces up to a $500 fine and 364 days in jail on the misdemeanor charge of voyeurism and up to a $250 fine and six months in jail on the petty misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com

Food for thought

By Carol A. Clark
Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Det. Shari Mills of the Los Alamos Police Department has inspired her daughter, Paige Early, to enter the law enforcement field.

“My mom is absolutely my role model,” Early said during an interview from Farmington Monday. “I’ve thought of a career in criminal justice and watching what my mom has accomplished made me decide that I could do it also. I’m really interested in community policing and the juvenile system because I’m drawn to helping kids.”

Early is the mother of three children ages, 9, 6 and 4.

Mills, 51, spent 18 years as a dental assistant in Los Alamos before joining the police academy in 2002 at age 45.

“I became interested in police work partly because of my husband, Lt. Scott Mills,” she said. “He’s been a police officer for the LAPD for nearly 10 years and it always sounded so interesting when he’d come home and talk about his day.”

She specializes in child protective services and sexual assault cases. Mills has completed a number of training programs and seminars in those fields and said one of the biggest challenges of her work is the unpleasantness of those types of cases.

Mills describes the people she works with as “fabulous.”

Mills and Early expressed pride in each other’s accomplishments and said they’d recommend law enforcement to others.

“It’s a wonderful field to work in because it’s challenging, demanding, very physical at times, and I’d say 80 percent of the time it’s difficult work,” Mills said. “But when we do get a conviction, it is so rewarding.”

Civil Complaint Detail
Complaint Description Disposition Disposition Date
10/19/2010 1 OPN: COMPLAINT Pending
COA Sequence # COA Description
Party Name Party Type Party #

Cop is suspect in burglary
Veteran officer placed on leave
By Carol A. Clark
Saturday, June 12, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Longtime Los Alamos Police Det. Shari (Sharon) Mills, 53, is the prime suspect in an aggravated burglary case at the home of her former husband, Lt. Scott Mills, also a Los Alamos police officer.

Officers took photographs and dusted for fingerprints at Lt. Mills’ home at 1415 41st St., Thursday evening.

LAPD Chief Wayne Torpy called in New Mexico State Police to investigate the case after Det. Mills became a suspect.

“I can’t comment as to an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the state police, however, I have placed Det. Mills on administrative leave while that investigation is going on,” Torpy said.

“The LAPD is conducting a parallel administrative investigation into the alleged misconduct of Det. Mills and we will take the appropriate action at the conclusion of both investigations.”

Officers obtained a search warrant from Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados Thursday evening to enter Det. Mills’ doublewide mobile home at 90 Sherwood Blvd., in White Rock.

According to the search warrant affidavit, LAPD Sgt. Andrew Goldie contacted detective division supervisor Sgt. Frederico Rascon at 6:30 p.m. Thursday informing him that Lt. Mills’ home had been burglarized. Rascon responded to the scene where Lt. Mills and other officers were gathered.

Rascon stated in the court document that he canvassed the area, speaking with neighbors and workers. They reported seeing various people near Lt. Mills’ house in recent days. One neighbor mentioned seeing a woman near the home Monday.

Lt. Mills had been out of town for a couple of weeks. According to the affidavit, there was a marked police unit parked in the driveway of Lt. Mills’ home in front of his carport. The burglar gained entry through the door on the north side of the home, beneath the carport. The bottom left corner window of the door was broken and it appeared that someone reached in and unlocked the door to gain entry.

Items listed in the search warrant affidavit as stolen from the home include firearms, computers and other electronic equipment, knives, money, documents and other items identified as belonging to Lt. Mills.

Lt. Mills is listed in the affidavit as stating that three handguns were missing from his bedroom — a Glock 31 .357, a Taurus 5 shot hammerless .38 special in a tan leather holster that also was taken, and a Glock 22 .40 in a black leather holster. The three handguns are valued at an estimated $500, according to court documents. Also reported stolen from the bedroom was an estimated $400-$500 cash in an envelope.

A UV Brown Gateway UC73 laptop computer with an estimated value of $1,200 was reported stolen from a table in the living room of the home. A handmade knife also was reported stolen.

Police confiscated a white board 55 MPH sign Lt. Mills had on his refrigerator, which he stated had been given to him by Det. Mills. It had two indentations in it that were not there before the burglary.

Rascon stated in the affidavit that he received a text message from Det. Mills at about 8:20 p.m. Thursday, which said, “I remember breaking the glass at Scott’s door but I don’t remember anything after that except walking around his house.”

According to court documents, Rascon contacted his supervisors and then drove to Det. Mills’ trailer to question her about her text message.

“On my arrival to the residence I made contact with Sharon Mills who was crying and told me she wanted to be honest about the whole thing and told me that she had a gun in her home that was a small 9mm Glock … I stopped her from making any more comments and read her (her) Miranda Rights, which she invoked and did not want to say anything further,” Rascon said.

Court documents further state that Det. Mills gave her duty weapon and shotgun to Deputy Chief Kevin Purtymun earlier that day, at which time she reportedly told him there were no other guns in her home.

In setting forth reasons why a nighttime search of Det. Mills’ home was necessary, the affidavit stated, “If the search is not conducted tonight there is a strong possibility that any evidence located at 90 Sherwood will be destroyed or discarded.”

The night search was granted and police confiscated the following property from Det. Mills’ home pursuant to that warrant:

• Glock 26 9mm with a leather holster and one full magazine of ammunition;

• Glock 22 .40 with a leather holster and one full magazine of ammunition;

• Taurus .38 with five rounds of ammunition;

• Glock 17 9mm with plastic case and one full magazine of ammunition and one empty magazine;

• One box of 9mm ammunition; and

• A 10-inch homemade knife with a leather sheath.

Detective accepts plea; quits force
Under an agreement with the district attorney’s office, Shari Mills will enter a treatment program
By Carol A. Clark
Friday, September 10, 2010 at 11:21 am (Updated: September 10, 12:54 pm)

Pacheco described Shari Mills as a person who “for the most part has led an upstanding life.”
“For personal reasons she had a stumble,” Pacheco said. “We take into account a person’s life, career and contributions to the community, then they commit a crime so you have to determine what’s in the best interest of everyone and find justice.”
Criminal charges will be dropped against her if she completes the program.

“It’s a wonderful field to work in because it’s challenging, demanding, very physical at times, and I’d say 80 percent of the time it’s difficult work,” Mills said. “But when we do get a conviction, it is so rewarding.”

Innocent until when???

It’s good to know he won’t be around to help people in trouble anymore! I only hope one of the contributors from the last blog (DeeC, TristenJ, Annak, HerbertF, EricM, NMT, Peachy, EV, MichaelL, 1118NM and of course ethanp) who are all law abiding, upstanding members of the community,(yeah right) will be there to step up in a time of need.