In Harm's Way

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Published on: Jul. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 3, 2010

and leveled it at the man's chest. He kept his truck bed between him and the man. "I'd gone from talking to hollering as I tried to gain control of the situation. And at the same time I was trying to get the bystanders to move away, out of danger. I kept watching the guy. Different scenarios were going through my mind. I thought, 'If that barrel points in my direction, I have a wife and kids, if I want to go home and see them, I might have to shoot him.'"

After repeated orders to do so, the man finally put his gun down and allowed himself to be handcuffed. After taking the man to the LaClede County Jail, Dickey learned that he was a known methamphetamine user and a suspected dealer. Remnants of drugs were found in the man's car.

"It was one of those situations they train you for, but you don't expect to run into," Dickey said. "More than any other time in my career, I felt like my life was in danger, even as I felt in control of the situation."

It is in the nature of miscreants, that the first thing you catch them doing wrong may not be the first or only time they have broken the law. Some have lengthy records, others are still wanted for other crimes. When confronted by any law enforcement officer, these people become desperate to avoid being apprehended.

Conservation Agent John Tiller found this out for himself one afternoon while checking fishing permits along Gallinipper Creek in St. Clair County. Tiller contacted a man who had a resident fishing permit, but no other identification with him. The man was with two other men and a woman, all of whom had fishing licenses and identification.

Tiller accompanied the man to his car, which had Colorado plates. As the man searched through his girlfriend's purse for proof of residency, Tiller noticed a small bag of what looked like marijuana in the purse. The man closed the purse quickly and took it with him to his girlfriend,

saying she would have to find the proof.

The man's unusual reaction alerted Tiller. "I knew there was something more to this than what seemed to be going on," Tiller said. "When he went down to the creek, I still had his permit in hand, so I ran it through the county sheriff's office computer. I also called the other

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