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After 23 years with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office, Detective Dan O'Malley stepped down Dec. 27.

O'Malley spent 20 years on full-time duty with the sheriff's office, climbing from patrolman to narcotics to general detective, spending time as the Violence Against Women Act detective and then finally working in the cold cases department.

Sheriff Leo Dutton wrote a letter to accept O'Malley's resignation and said "in a review of your office file, which contains but a snapshot of the last 20 years of your life, many accolades abound.

"In pursuit of justice, you demonstrated courage to pursue the criminal, but never lost sight of the victims," Dutton wrote. "We appreciate your dedication."

O'Malley spent seven years working with treatment court, a part of the justice system intended to rehabilitate people struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol. 

During his time as a narcotics detective, O'Malley said he came to a realization that gave him a deeper understanding of addiction. The turning point for O'Malley was when a 35-year-old man who he arrested was essentially sentenced to life in prison.

"I realized that he was sentenced for being an addict," O'Malley said. 

O'Malley said that after that, he understood more about the difficulties of addiction. 

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"I've been to three different funerals for addicts' family members," he said. "There's a connection between mental illness and drug addiction." 

But now that he's finished with law enforcement, he plans to spend more time helping his son, Sean, with management and contract work in his professional mixed martial arts career. 

"I'll miss helping people through addiction and troubled times," O'Malley said, but he's still ready to take it easy at least for a little while.

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Reporter

Reporter at the Helena Independent Record.

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