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Ride Along With Escambia Co. Deputies

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - Deputy Michael Williams has been part of the Sheriff's Office for more than three years.

One of the areas he drove through was the Montclair Community.  He says the streets that run along Michigan Ave. have a reputation.

"This is a hot drug area," Williams said about the neighborhood. "The big product in this area is marijuana."

For Williams, the issues of drugs hits home.

"My brother was hooked on crack and everything else," he said. "He stole my mom's checks and stole my Nintendo and games and everything when I was a kid."

Williams says there's a few different ways drugs come across their radar during patrols.

Sometimes, citizens call 9-1-1 with a tip and he or another deputy will follow up on the report.  Other times, they find it on people when conducting routine traffic stops.

Williams made several stops on Monday night.  He pulled over a car for having windows with illegal tints.  He also stopped people who were walking in the middle of the road.

One stop on Mission Road near Fairfield Drive involved a biker who was riding too close to the middle of the road.

"It puts him in danger of vehicles running him over," Williams explained.  Williams stopped the rider and spoke to him.  He felt the need to conduct a pat down.  He says it's a common practice for officer safety, since it's hard to tell if they are carrying any weapons.

The man gave his consent to be patted down and Williams found a gram of a substance which he says looked like marijuana.

It doesn't seem like much, but he says they're job is to get as much of it off the streets as possible.

"Drugs in general, getting anything off the streets helps out," he said. "So that one drug there could lead to someone smoking some crack later, because Marijuana is the gateway drug, we all heard of that."

Sheriff David Morgan says in general, many violent crimes stem from drugs.

"The drug culture is so violent, they'll decide that it's a good idea to rip off a drug dealer," Morgan explained. "That's very serious scenario to be involved with. So we've had those homicides where it's a drug rip off, not just a drug transaction gone bad."

The details of Friday night's shooting involving 20-year-old Shaquille Purifoy are still under investigation.  It's not clear how drugs were involved, but deputies say they were, so the goal remains to take as much of it off the streets as they can.