Major Fred Watson joined the Atlanta Police Department in 2000. After graduating from the police academy in 2001, he was assigned to Zone 6 in East Atlanta as a police officer.
In 2003, Major Watson was assigned as an officer to the elite RED DOG Unit where he worked with his team members to target individuals involved in illegal street-level drug activity.
In 2005, Major Watson was promoted to the rank of investigator and was assigned to the Fugitive Unit tasked with apprehending wanted individuals.
In 2007, Major Watson was promoted to sergeant and worked various assignments to include: Zone 4 Evening Watch in southwest Atlanta, Zone 4 FIT, Zone 4 Day Watch, RED DOG, Zone 6 Morning Watch, Office of Professional Standards and the Special Victims Unit.
In 2014, Major Watson was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and was assigned to Zone 4 Day Watch. Later in 2014, Watson was assigned to the School Detectives Unit and worked in cooperation with the Atlanta Public School System to provide a safe atmosphere for students, faculty and staff. Major Watson investigated crimes within the school district and engaged in student-focused extra-curricular activities.
In 2015 as a lieutenant, Major Watson was assigned to the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit (SWAT) as the Commander. In SWAT, Major Watson was instrumental in doubling the size of the SWAT team and creating partnerships with other law enforcement agencies to assist Atlanta for special events. Additionally, Major Watson co-chaired the All Hazards team for College Football National Playoff in 2018 and Super Bowl LIII in 2019.
In 2018 as a lieutenant, Major Watson was assigned to the Homeland Security Unit an oversaw the operations of the Intelligence, Electronic Surveillance, and Cybercrimes Units.
In 2019, Major Watson was promoted to the rank of captain and assigned to the Special Enforcement Section which commands the operations of the Criminal Intelligence, Fugitive, Homeland Security, License and Permits Units and Narcotics.
In 2019, Major Watson was appointed to the rank of major and assigned to the Community Oriented Policing Section (COPS). Within COPS, Major Watson leads the following units: Community Liaison, Special Projects, Path Force, and the Police Athletic League (PAL). Additionally, COPS works in partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation to deliver specialized youth services at the award winning At-Promise Youth & Community Center.
Major Watson is a native of Chicago, Illinois and comes from a law enforcement lineage of civil servants. Major Watson received his Specialist in Education from the University of West Georgia, Master of Science from the University of Cincinnati, and his Bachelor of Science from Morris Brown College where he graduated with honors.
Major Watson has obtained managerial and supervisory certifications through GA POST and is an Atlanta Police Leadership Institute (APLI) Tier 3 & 4 graduate. Watson is a graduate of the Police Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) Session 65 and Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command Session 417. Watson also participated in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange program via Georgia State University and spent time in Israel with the Israeli National Police for counterterrorism instruction and training.
Major Watson is a member of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Northwestern University Center for Public Safety (NUCPS) Alumni Association, FBI-LEEDA, Inc., and is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Major Watson is a departmental Medal of Honor recipient and has received a Life Saving Award from Atlanta Metropol, Inc. and the 300 Club of Atlanta.