THE WILD LIFE OF MAINE'S LONGEST-TENURED UNDERCOVER GAME WARDEN
At fifteen years old, Bill Livezey was at rock bottom, caught in a dark spiral of alcohol, drugs, and poaching after witnessing his fugitive father perish in a fiery standoff with police. Angry at the world, he was the last teenager anyone expected to have a thirty-year career in the Maine Warden Service before faith and his partner in life, Gail, helped him discover his path.
Livezey’s nefarious upbringing provided unique training for living a wild double life as Maine’s longest-tenured undercover game warden. Anything could—and did—happen when the most heinous violators of Maine’s fish and game laws said the magic words, “Let’s go for a ride.” Surviving alcohol- and drug-fueled car chases on winding country roads, murderous poachers suspicious of his identity, and the fickle whims of mother nature when caught on a lobster boat in a fierce Atlantic storm were all in a day’s work.
Only when a politician with an ax to grind and the state’s largest news organization irresponsibly and without merit outed Livezey as an undercover agent following an operation in Maine’s storied Allagash Wilderness did his covert career come to a screeching halt, forcing him to do the one thing he couldn’t—walk away before it was too late.
Black smoke billowed out of the old Victorian house’s second-story windows. Packed shoulder-to-shoulder in a parking lot filled with onlookers, it felt like a high school football game, an electric current surging through the crowd. Except the throng wasn’t cheering for tackles and touchdowns. They were out for blood. Yelling obscenities. Urging the police to act. Every few seconds, someone pointed to a window and shouted that they saw the man inside, fueling a chorus of people screaming, “Get him!” and “Blow him away!”
“He’s armed and dangerous!” a cop on a bullhorn warned as a line of police officers worked to keep the crowd back. There was a single man in the building, a fugitive drug dealer and suspected murderer who’d been on the run for six months. The police inadvertently ignited the fire by shooting tear gas inside to subdue the man, and as far as they were concerned, it was now a waiting game. Firefighters and paramedics were on the scene, but they were also bystanders, not wanting to get shot by the man whose life they were trying to save.
A serpentine tongue of flames erupted from the window and licked the outside of the building, igniting cheers from the crowd. My sister, Chris, a year and a half my elder, collapsed onto the pavement. She thrashed and shrieked on the ground, but no one paid her any attention. All they cared about was the pariah of their community getting his due.
I just stood there. Numb.
The armed-and-dangerous man inside the building was our father.
I was fifteen.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
BILL LIVEZEY retired from the Maine Warden Service as an investigator in July of 2020 after a thirty-year career. Having served twenty years in the elite Special Investigations Unit, Bill is the longest-tenured undercover operative in the history of the Maine Warden Service. A graduate of Unity College, his dedication to protecting people and defending wildlife earned him recognition as Warden of the Year in 2004, along with six Exemplary Service Awards and one Meritorious Service Award from the Maine Warden Service; recognition from The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in 1995; and the “Living Legend Award” as an Officer of the Month from the National Fallen Officers Memorial in 2005. Bill and his wife Gail reside in Sherman, Maine.
DAREN WORCESTER is the author of Open Season, True Stories of the Maine Warden Service. He has also been published in Backpacker and Down East magazines. A native of Hanover, Maine, and a graduate of the University of Maine, Daren lives in New Hampshire with his family. A sportsman who enjoys hiking, hunting, and fishing, he has never gone for a ride.
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