Columbus Police Department Capt. Fred Shelton has worked double duty to keep streets safe in Columbus and across the world for nearly three decades.
A Chicago native, Shelton moved to the Friendly City in 1980 to take a job with the Columbus Street Department. After entering the military a year later, Shelton became interested in serving his community while at the same time serving his country.
Today, Shelton is one of the CPD”s longest-serving officers and continues to be actively involved with the military. After recently serving as a military police trainer in Afghanistan, the police captain returned to the Friendly City police department Feb. 17.
Shelton lives in Columbus with his wife, and has six children and five grandchildren.
What originally made you want to become involved with the Columbus Police Department?
I began working as an auxiliary police officer in 1983, and an opening came up soon after that. Some of the other officers suggested that I go from being a volunteer to working at the department full time. Since I was already in the military, I wanted to do something where I could use my training to serve people.
How long were you in the military before you started working at the police department?
It was a few years before I started volunteering at the department, so it would have been 1981.
What areas did you serve in the military?
Well, I originally signed on as a mechanic and then 10 years later I became a military police officer. I”ve been a military police officer since 1988. Since I entered the service, I”ve been to Panama five times, Ecuador, Honduras twice, Belgium, Germany and most recently Afghanistan.
My last deployment was in 2008 when I went to Afghanistan. I just returned from that deployment in February of this year, right before I started working at the department again.
While you were in Afghanistan, did you always plan on coming back and resuming your job at the police department?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I just took two years off from the police department to go back to the military. I am a military police trainer, so I train military police units that are going into combat all over the world.
Do you feel that being in the military prepares you for a domestic police job, and vice versa?
It definitely does. I have always used skills that I learned through one job to perform better in the other.
What motivates you to do what you do with the police department now?
I feel that after going to Afghanistan and teaching other nations how to do police work like we do in America, it”s really my responsibility to serve here too. We set the standard here for doing that kind of thing, and we”ve been doing it much longer than many of the countries I”ve served in. I just feel that my police experience as a civilian helps to enhance my performance as a military police officer and vice versa.
While I was gone on this two-year active duty tour, I taught various schools like military police investigator, non-lethal weapons instructor and unarmed self-defense instructor. These are things that I taught to other military police officers who would then go out and teach Afghan and Iraqi police officers how to do the job that we do in America.