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Raney given chance

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Special to the Ellis County Press
When Steve Raney initially asked to join our interdiction unit, I had my reservations.

I had known of him for years. We had even gone to school together in Waxahachie. I had not, however, spent any time with him for obvious reasons.

I had entered law enforcement at the age of 20 and had made that my career for years. He had chosen to enter the world of drugs. We were on opposite sides of the fence if you will.

Everyone at the Red Oak Police Department was aware of his past arrest for possession of marijuana.

Most of us were not aware the original charge had been for cultivation, and he was arrested after a large amount of marijuana had been located at his residence. Nor were any of us aware he had been in drug rehab on three separate occasions and had a history of cocaine abuse.

All we knew was that a few years earlier he had been busted for a misdemeanor possession and now he wanted to be a cop.

He had retained local congressional representative Jim Pitts to help him secure a pardon from our new governor, George W. Bush, for the marijuana charge. He was busy drumming up support for this little adventure when he came to the PD.

Chief Sullins, bless his heart, believed in giving people second chances. He had decided to let Raney have a shot. Why, I don't know.

Raney had approached me a couple of times about working with me on the highway. I wasn't very big on the idea, but I needed the help. After a while it turned out to be pretty convenient.

Raney didn't have a job to report to, so he was available at any time. Although he was a rookie, he was still a body to watch the bad guys while I searched the cars.

He was pretty smooth though. He managed to work himself into the unit in a relatively short period of time.

Keith Ramsey, my nephew, was still helping when he could, but he also had to work for a living. I really felt comfortable with Keith as my partner. He was eager to learn, and would listen.

I had hoped Keith and Raney would eventually team up as partners to work in my absence. This, I would learn later, was not a good idea.

It seemed Raney had developed a little bit of an ego about being associated with the unit. Around me, he was one way; but around the others, he seemed to have an unwarranted attitude. It became so bad Keith finally came to me and told me he would not work with Raney again.

It seemed Raney had decided it was easier to 'profile' Hispanics than do his job the way I had taught him. He was also reportedly stopping vehicles without sufficient probable cause. When this was brought to my attention I brought him in and put a stop to it immediately.

The patrol sergeant and I both agreed he needed more seasoning on patrol. He was taken off the interdiction unit and reassigned to patrol.

This did not go over well with Raney. He had an excuse for every action and accusation. He never seemed able to accept responsibility for what he had done. He always attempted to shift blame on someone else.

This, of course, did not work with me.

We had developed a relationship with the Dallas DEA through an old friend of mine, Tommy Hale, who had been assigned as a task force officer for a couple of years and had helped us on occasion. Tommy had now approached us with the possibility of the City of Red Oak being able to put a person at DEA as a task force officer.

Although no city as small as Red Oak had ever been allowed to participate, we had a shot because of Tommy. I was excited about this move. This would give the city a chance to participate in bigger investigations and seizures, and money was what it was all about.

I left the interdiction unit to go to DEA as a task force officer and was assigned to the asset forfeiture division. I had thought I knew something about drug dealers and the distribution of narcotics. Now I began to realize I knew nothing of the grand scale of things. I learned more intelligence the next year than all the years prior.

It was a good year for all of us. The interdiction unit made a few good busts. I made some good percentages on seizures, and everybody was happy.

Next week: We'll talk about the end of the world as we knew it. Change was in the air, and it wasn't good for me or the interdiction unit.

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Nelson Propane

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