Bob Ward retires; police work is over

Mar. 01, 2013 @ 06:02 AM

Bob Ward always wanted to grow up and be a policeman. So he did.  On Thursday after a police officer career spanning 39 years, he went home to begin retirement.

Ward officially retired Thursday as the assistant police chief for the Town of Forest City.  Of the years 31 years and nine months of fulltime work, 22 years were spent with Forest City. He also worked for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and Spindale Police Department and had nine years of reserve work.

“It was time to retire,” Ward said Thursday morning at the Forest City Clubhouse where more than 150 people gathered for a retirement lunch. “It’s time to let the younger boys take over.”

Capt. Chris Lovelace presented Ward his service revolver and Police Chief Jay Jackson presented a plaque of appreciation and prayed the Police Officer’s Prayer, during the event.

Among those attending were his wife Anna; son and daughter, who skyped from Ft. Lewis in Washington where she is in the military. 

Ward said he’ll miss his comrades in Forest City and law enforcement officers from across the county.

“There’s just a comradery among police officers,” he said. “I’ve also made a lot of friends in Forest City,” he said. 

One of the cases he’ll never forget occurred in the 90’s when he investigated an armed robbery that resulted in a homicide.

“This was my first real big case where I was the lead detective,” he said. The robbery was at a former gas station on West Main Street where a well-known attendant, Freddie Bender, worked. “Everyone liked him,” Ward said. “He was killed during the robbery.”

Two suspects were caught, later tried and convicted and are serving life sentences in prison.

He also remembers the day he and officer Jay Moore were at the Forest City Fire Department talking with Ferrell Hamrick. “A woman came in yelling to tell us a building had just blown up in Forest City,” Ward said.

When they looked toward town, “We saw nothing but smoke,” he said. Push Pa had burned.

Ward began his law enforcement career with the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department working for Sheriff Damon Huskey. “Back then, there was no training. . .you were just told to go out and do it.”

Ward said when training schools were offered he attended.

He told the crowd attending Thursday there has been a member of his family working for the Town of Forest City for the past 60 years, including his father, uncle, brother and as he leaves, a second cousin, Brad Moore, is a Forest City Police officer.

Chief Jackson told Ward he would always be a member of the Forest City Police Department and thanked him for his service to the town, the force and to him when he arrived in town a few years ago.

Ward said he and wife Anna plan to travel in their motor home and among their first trips will be to see their daughter in Washington.

The couple also has a house in Garden City, S.C. and will live there and in Forest City.

While on the Internet Wednesday night, Ward said he discovered a site from the Myrtle Beach Police Department asking for volunteers officers to help solve homicide cold cases.

He is going to apply for the volunteer detective’s job and said he actually looking forward to the job. “Sometimes a fresh set of eyes on one of these cold cases helps,” Ward said. 

In retirement, Ward is going to continue living out his childhood dream, to be a police officer.