The City of Brighton is saddened to announce the passing of retired Brighton Police Department Captain Robert White. In 1988, White began his career with Brighton Police, hired by Chief Robert Gallow, as the Commander of the Operations Division. From there, he became instrumental in many of the Department’s transformations and progress in the 1980s, 1990s, and well into the 2000s.
White’s career in law enforcement began in 1967 at the Hawthorne, California Police Department. After a few years, he moved back to his native Colorado and joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant. At the Sheriff’s Office, White held supervisory positions in the county jail, patrol, investigations, and the Jefferson County Training Academy.
As the Commander of Brighton Police’s Operations Division, White led the Patrol and Detective Sections. Starting in 2004, he led the Support Division for a number of years, but returned to the Operations Division to finish his career. White was instrumental in developing a new hiring program to hire police officers inclined toward community policing and serving the citizens of Brighton, rather than candidates whose sole focus was enforcing the law. Current Police Chief Paul Southard was one of the first hired under this new model. White was also instrumental in implementing two records management systems at the Department. Before that, reports were written by hand and maintained in paper files.
Former Brighton Police Chief and Councilmember Clint Blackhurst crossed career paths with White in the early 1980s and the two grew to become close colleagues and friends.
“Bob was just a really special guy,” said Blackhurst. “He understood law enforcement and he was good about understanding people. He was totally dedicated to building the Brighton Police Department into becoming the best it could be.”
White was well-respected by the entire Metro area. His firm disciplinary actions with officers even earned him the nickname “Maximum Bob.” White was always interested in the latest policing ideas and practices and was committed to attending classes and implementing new ideas until the day he retired.
“With his help, we were able to turn around the department from what it was in the 1980s,” said Blackhurst. “It’s now a completely different department. He was just a really solid guy.”
Outside of law enforcement, White loved to fish, hunt, golf, and play poker.
White retired in 2013 to live in West Pueblo. In 2019, he lost his wife Sandy.
White’s legacy is setting the standard for all command-level officers to come.