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Retiree's Corner :: Fred Preston

February 19, 2007 by Teri Lanning

In police 10 codes, “10-24” translates as “Assignment completed”…and in Indiana, police officers are entitled to “retire” after 20 years of service and receive their full pension. 

However, many officers put in much longer tours of duty—some more than 40 years—and then they embark on new careers, take up old (or new) hobbies, rack up some good

R & R—or all of the above and more.

In short, the action doesn’t have to stop after the last day on the beat. This feature catches up with some of our SBPD retirees and shares some behind-the-scenes scoops on what they’re up to…

Fred Preston

Joined the department in 1971 & devoted 25+ years

Hostage Negotiator for five years

Retired as a Sergeant from the Detective Bureau (Juvenile) in 1997

Serves as a Chaplain in the SBPD Chaplaincy Program

Coming up on 10 years; Court Security Officer for the U.S. Marshall -

Currently assigned to the Bankruptcy Court Also serves as Pastor/ Elder at St. Luke Memorial Church of God in Christ

“I put a lot of people in jail…that was worth it being a police officer. But the most worthwhile was keeping them out of jail!”

Fred Preston smiles broadly when he describes how even now, people come up and thank him for “setting them straight” when they were younger. He recalled, “It’s very heartening to go back in my mind and recall a particular young person who was going down the wrong path, and something I said or did helped them change their ways. And some of them were pretty bad kids! I saw one here recently, now a grown man, successful, and with a family of his own…He was a big white kid who used to bully and steal...He saw me the other day and said ‘Preston? You remember me? You stopped me from going to prison!’”

“There’s also a couple guys—Cornelis, Friend, Bussert—that were really behind me and encouraged me to get on the South Bend Police Department. I had served in the Army and when I came back I was looking for work. I worked at the Post Office---after being disappointed with layoffs at Bendix…I didn’t like going to unemployment,” said Fred.

He continued and remembered the guys saying, “Hey, Fred, you’re a good guy and we need Blacks on our department! Have you ever been in trouble? And I said, ‘Nope, I never been in no trouble.’ So that was that, and they helped get me on.”

Taking “a big pay cut” to come to the department, Preston said it was worth it because it was never about the money—but the service and job security. Not to forget the good people and memories along the way.

“On the midnight shift, we were the ‘Midnight Raiders,’” grinned Fred. “That was because people, you know, would be getting out of the bars and be out on the streets so late…well half the time, they would be coming up to no good. Every weekend, fighting at the Why Not...we ran into a lot of bad guys and took care of them…I even rode with the Chief (currently Chief Fautz) for a while back then.”

Fred said he has three sons, and three grandchildren, two boys and a girl. He said his first wife Ruby died right after he retired, and then he met his current wife Marcella, a missionary, singer and evangelist. They have worked together to build their church at 141 E. Haney Street, the St. Luke Memorial Church of God in Christ.

“My goal in the near future is to retire so I can donate all my time to the church. But don’t get me wrong, my Court Security is good; it’s good that we’re here (other retired police officers from the area). Let me tell you, before I came over here to Bankruptcy, there were some real characters over there at the courthouse!” smiled Preston, always heeding the value and memories of his law enforcement career.

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