Answering call for help lights fuse
By 01/11/2001 00:00:00
Special to the Ellis County Press
I had been with the DEA task force for a little more than a year when Chief Charles Sullins decided it was time to leave Red Oak.
I for one was not happy to see him leave. We had maintained our position at the Task Force only because he had fought the city council for it. Now he was leaving, and so was the position.
The fact he was leaving just put into action a few other plans on my part. I had already talked to other agencies about a job and it didn´t look like a problem.
I even applied for the chief of police job at Red Oak. I did it in the beginning as a jab at some of the other people, who thought they were a shoe in for the job. I made the initial cut through the first round of interviews and was in second place for
the job. I decided I didn´t really want it. It was time to leave.
Of course, the city decided since I was leaving, they didn´t want to pay the six grand they owed me in overtime payments. I thought this unfortunate and filed with the Department of Labor.
I wasn´t that concerned. I had supporting documents of overtime, along with a letter of approval from the chief of police. Little did I know the city manager would do everything he could not to pay me.
Steve Raney had gone to work as a reserve deputy constable with Constable 'Bubba' Curry. He had seen the writing on the wall at Red Oak. The new chief had no reservations about telling him to seek another place to work. After all, they had a past relationship in the good guy/ bad guy game in which Raney had been the bad guy.
Raney told me Bubba wanted to carry my commission as a peace officer so I could work the highway for him.
I went to the constable´s office as a reserve deputy constable, but my heart wasn´t in it anymore. I had tired of the game. Most of my life I had worked for peanuts in this damn field, and what did it get me?
I decided I might as well just walk away from the field altogether. I had an opportunity to take over the new MRI at the hospital and just about double my salary. Why not?
I was taking 18 hours that semester from two different colleges in an effort to finish my bachelor's degree. I had a plan. I had talked to the Navy Reserve about coming on as a medic, while I finished my degree, then possibly going into Naval Intelligence as an officer.
I had sat for my law school entrance exam and planned to enter in Sept. of '96 with the hopes of tuition assistance from the Navy. It sure seemed like a good plan, and things were going well.
Raney had bought his own narcotics canine and had a take-home car from Bubba's office. He was obsessed with working the highway.
I, on the other hand, couldn't care less. I think I went out with him two times in three months. He had the drive and desire, just not the skill or experience.
The scary part was now he had the whole county to profile in. He wasn´t restricted to our little three-mile stretch of 35E; he had all of it.
Raney tried and tried, to no avail. It seemed like the harder he
tried, the less he accomplished. The odds, however, were in his favor. I believe the saying is even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while - and his luck, and mine, were about to change.
On Dec. 5, 1995, I received a phone call just as I was walking out
the door to go to school. This call would be the first step down the path which would cause more people to lie, cheat, steal and perjure themselves than anything I could have ever imagined.
Raney had finally found something worth talking about. He told me he had found a couple of bricks inside a car, and he thought they might contain cocaine.
I congratulated him and told him I was on the way to school. He begged me to come over to Curry´s office and help him with the paperwork.
He didn´t know what to do or how to do it. I told him I would be there in 15 minutes, but I couldn´t stay long.
Next week, we´ll go into the three-ring circus I found at the constable's office when I got there, and how I would later be accused of a crime I didn´t commit.