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The beginning, how it all started

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I had decided to go back to school to pursue new interest. I had applied at Baylor School of Radiology, but my chances were slim.

Three hundred-plus applicants with only 15 openings meant a very competitive selection.

Needless to say, I was prepared for a rejection letter. When I received a call telling me congratulations and welcome aboard, I was pleasantly surprised. This was the beginning of a new life for me.

Now, all I needed to do was find a job allowing me to work around my 40-hour school week. I needed something I could do in the evenings and weekends that would support my family.

Fortunately, a few people were willing to help me and give me a chance. Charles Sullins was the chief of police at Red Oak at the time and had known me since I was eight years old.

He had also been my lieutenant at the Waxahachie Police Department 10 years earlier. I had been a reserve police officer at Red Oak for some time, but wanted so much to get on the highway.

I knew there were more drugs going up Interstate 35E than anyone could imagine, and I knew how to find them.

Charles had told me to get out there on the highway and see what I could do.

I had to prove to him I could do what I was claiming. If so, he would help me with a job.

The first day in uniform, back in a squad car, would prove to be a good one.

The first car I stopped on the first day would be the beginning of the City of Red Oak's highway interdiction, and the start of the path that would introduce Steve Raney into my life.

The driver of the car had a few problems with his memory and couldn't seem to remember a few minor details…like where he was going, and who he was going to meet when he got there and a few other things.

To make a long story short, he was hauling about 40 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car. Was this a great day or what? I called dispatch and asked them to send the Chief to my location.

I didn't tell him what I had found. I just told him I needed him to come to my location.

I know I must have looked like a Cheshire cat when he pulled up. There I was, on the first traffic stop of the first day, with 40 pounds of weed. I got the job.

The city was really helpful in working around my schedule. The next 8 to 10 months would prove productive for the little interdiction unit.

The chief would eventually allow me to put together an interdiction team made up of two officers and two reserves.

One of those reserves would be my nephew, and the other would be a new officer to the force, Steve Raney. One of these choices was a good one and the other one would affect me, and many other officers for the rest of their lives.

Next week I'll tell you how Raney worked his way into the law enforcement family, against the objections of some.

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Nelson Propane

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