Three veteran members of the Berkeley Police Department, who collectively have worked for the department for nearly 100 years, are retiring from the force.
Lt. Bob Maloney, Sgt. Frank Reynolds and Capt. Patrick Phelps began their careers when police officers banged out reports on typewriters backed by carbon paper. They have witnessed and adapted to the technological revolution in police work.
Maloney said working in the police department is an exciting, stressful life, and he didn’t have to retire. But, he said, “There are other things in life I want to do.”
The father of two daughters and a son, and grandfather of four, he’s looking forward to family time, he said, scuba diving and golf.
When Maloney joined the Berkeley police in June 1969, as a graduate of the University of San Francisco, the department operated its own police training academy.
He said his training was interrupted by demonstrations on Telegraph Avenue.
“In the middle of recruit school, we got taken out and given helmets and batons to staff the riot lines,” Maloney said.
When Maloney retired April 28, he was supervising detectives working on the Lakireddy Bali Reddy case in which the millionaire landlord is accused of transporting immigrants illegally to Berkeley and female immigrants for sexual purposes.
Reynolds, hired a year earlier after graduating from Fresno State College, was assigned to patrol but quickly switched to undercover duty, gathering intelligence during 1968 riots on Telegraph Avenue.
Reynolds has worked in the sex crimes division, he was in charge of traffic detail, and he was the first detective sergeant in charge of the juvenile division. He served two terns as President of the Alameda County Juvenile Officers Coordinating Council.
Phelps, a graduate of San Francisco State University, served with the U.S. Navy before joining the Berkeley police in 1969.
He has been a sergeant and inspector, and his final responsibility has been overseeing the administrative division He said the four years he spent in the early 1980s in charge of the homicide detail was the most interesting and rewarding time in his career.
He recalled the 1984 Bibi Lee case, in which a woman murdered by her boyfriend was reported missing for a month and allegedly kidnapped. Her body was found in Redwood Regional Park.
Another high profile case the homicide detail closed, Phelps said, was the attempted murder of attorney Fay Stender by members of a prison gang in 1982. Other cases he said were not as public, but just as intense.
“You run with it until there is nothing more that can be done in that point in time,” Phelps said.
Maloney, Reynolds and Phelps all were assigned to different units in the department throughout their careers, strengthening their skills and the department as a whole.
Reynolds, whose final assignment was as a field training sergeant, explained that when officers are promoted to sergeant they spend time in the new detail, but then they are rotated back to the patrol division.
Patrol work takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Reynolds said. The rotation of officers keeps the vitality intact.
“It brings back experience to the street where it’s needed,” he said.
While electronic communication systems require an additional mastery of skills that the veteran officers did not have when they began their careers, some things stay the same.
“I think the core kinds of things that you want from people who do this kind of work really haven’t changed,” said Maloney.
“You still want people who can deal with the stress of this job successfully, who are passionate about trying to help people, who are willing to make their own personal sacrifices to gain that goal that is set by themselves or by the organization.”
The three veterans join Inspector Dan Wolke, who retired from the force last month. Each of the four men served in the Berkeley Police Department for at least 30 years.