South Bend police officer retiring after half-century with the force

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 4:50 PM EDT
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Kenneth 'Doc' Milliken joined the South Bend Police Department in November of 1968 and never looked back.

Now he's retiring, and 16 News Now spoke to him about what shaped his 5-decade-long career patrolling the streets of South Bend.

Milliken joined the South Bend police force during a turbulent time in the city's history.

"Riots were still going on but settling down, and the city needed policemen because the police officers who were on that had their time in were retiring. So I applied and I was lucky. It took me six weeks to get on and get sworn in," he said.

For the next half-century, every day on the job was a new adventure.

"Patrol, that's what I like. You're out there. You answer your calls. You have no idea what you're going to be doing, which I like," he said.

Doc says he's old school, evident by his patrol car that used to be a police fleet staple--a 10-year-old Ford Crown Victorian.

Even though his patrol car has been the same for the past decade, he says much has changed in 50 years.

"A lot's changed--I mean the way we work. I was broke in by some old-timers, and they did it their way. We had a lot more respect--a lot more respect. We got a lot more accomplished by using a lot less technology," he said.

Keeping him motivated were the connections he made throughout South Bend, and matching them with his sense of humor.

"Meeting people, seeing what type of attitude they got, because I've been told I've got one, so I want to see what kind of attitude other people have," he said.

Making room for the next generation to come through the force.

When he turns in the badge for good, Milliken says he's going to do a lot more hunting and fishing during retirement.