Detective accepts plea; quits force

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Under an agreement with the district attorney’s office, Shari Mills will enter a treatment program

By Carol A. Clark

Det. Shari Mills has tendered her resignation with the Los Alamos Police Department and accepted the district attorney’s offer to enter a treatment program.
Mills, 53, was on paid administrative leave since June  after becoming the prime suspect in an aggravated burglary case at the home of her ex-husband, Lt. Scott Mills, also a Los Alamos police officer.
LAPD called in the state police to investigate the case while conducting an administrative investigation of their own.
“We have concluded our internal affairs investigation and just received a letter of resignation from Det. Mills,” Deputy Chief Kevin Purtymun said. “It’s up to the district attorney’s office whether criminal charges will be filed.”
District Attorney Angela Pacheco said Thursday that Det. Mills was facing felony charges of residential burglary and larceny.
“Det. Mills has been referred to a diversion program with consent of the victim Scott Mills,” Pacheco said. “She has to meet with our office for one year. She has a substance abuse issue and she has to get treatment for that issue.”
Ordinarily, individuals involved in burglaries and larcenies are not referred to the diversion program but this is a domestic issue, she said.
“In determining whether to put someone in the program, we take into account prior criminal history, the nature of the crime and the victim’s feelings in the matter,” Pacheco said.
“Det. Mills was apparently under the influence at the time of the break-in. If she had a criminal record or if it were a violent crime she wouldn’t have been put in the program. If the victim had been opposed, we would never have put her in the diversion program — he really supported her getting treatment.”
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.
Shari Mills Thursday said she is starting a new job Tuesday.
“I’m looking forward to a new career in my former field as a dental assistant, which I practiced for 18 years before going into law enforcement eight years ago, but it will be hard leaving my investigative team,” she said.
Det. Fred Rascon is in charge of the investigative team.
He stated in court documents that when his team began their investigation of the break in, he received a text message from Shari Mills. The message 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 the documents, Rascon contacted his supervisors and then drove to Shari Mills’ home to question her about the text message.   
Items listed in the search warrant affidavit as stolen from Lt. Mills’ Los Alamos residence included firearms, computers and other electronic equipment, knives, money, documents and other items.

Carol Clark can be reached at lanews@