New Havenâ€™s former top narcotics police officer was sentenced to more than three years in prison on corruption charges yesterday.
Former police Lieutenant William White was caught in March 2007, taking bribes and stealing thousands of dollars at crime scenes planted by undercover FBI agents. His arrest was part of a government probe into the New Haven police department. He pleaded guilty last October to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of theft of government funds.
In a hearing that lasted 2Â½ hours, Whiteâ€™s lawyer and supporters called for leniency. His attorney described a tough, compassionate cop whose criminal conduct was inconsistent with 39 years as an acclaimed New Haven police officer. He said White suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, due in part to the murder of his son by gang members whose leaders heâ€™d helped to bring down. Eight people spoke passionately on his behalfâ€¦His wife told the packed courtroom that White was never off-duty,
But the Acting U.S. Attorney said Whiteâ€™s criminal conduct was not one mistake in an otherwise law-abiding life. She played audio tapes, including this one â€“ recorded in 2006 by an undercover agent. White talks about the easy money heâ€™s made over the years, as he splits up corrupt cash payments from local bail bondsmen.
"Easy money. No fooling. I wouldnâ€™t be doing this... Look at how much money we made over the years..if you didnâ€™t turn me on..over the years."
White apologized to the court, law enforcement officials and his family and said he hoped they would forgive him.
In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton said although Whiteâ€™s charitable and civic activities made a difference in peopleâ€™s lives, the bottom line was that Billy White was a â€œcop on the takeâ€. She did not accept that PTSD had diminished his ability to function as a police officer and said the public trust is shaken every time a police officer, especially a celebrated one, commits a crime.
White was sentenced to 38 months in prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.