First scholarship awarded honoring long-time deputy

Colonel Fred “Freddie” Wilson Rutledge, II created a legacy of service during his 38 years of law enforcement service. Following his death in July of 2020, Rutledge’s friends and family ensured that his legacy would extend to future generations with the founding of a scholarship fund in his memory. 

Last week, the first Fred Rutledge scholarship at Randolph Community College was awarded to Cadet Justice McDaniel. He will be part of the 89th Basic Law Enforcement Training class at RCC. 

Randolph County District Attorney Andy Gregson began promoting the scholarship fund, along with other friends and family of Rutledge, just days after Rutledge died on July 8, 2020. Just two months after Rutledge died, the Randolph County community had raised the necessary funds, exceeding $10,000, to fully fund the scholarship which is now permanently funded. 

“I met Freddie Rutledge 26 years ago. He was a witness in one of my first trials in Randolph County,” said Gregson shortly after Rutledge’s death. “I spent countless hours eating lunch with him in the tower at the Training Center while I was teaching BLET. Freddie was a man of integrity and honor. He always did things the right way. He was always willing to help others.”

Rutledge began his career in the Patrol Division of the Sheriff’s Department in 1977 and was promoted consistently until reaching the level of Colonel — the chief deputy. Rutledge received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Gov. Pat McCrory following his retirement in 2015. 

“Freddie was always what a law enforcement officer should aspire to be,” said Gregson. “He leaves a legacy in the lives of so many officers.” 

By North State Journal staff

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