Fred McKinney was born and raised in Durham, attending public school until he enrolled in Oak Ridge Military Institute, graduating in 1962, and then attending North Carolina State University from 1962-1966. In 1966, Fred enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a Squad Leader in the Security Element for Mobile Construction Battalion 62 in Phu Bai, Vietnam. In 1967, after his tour in Vietnam, Fred was assigned to be a Weapons Instructor at the Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport, Mississippi until 1969, when he returned to North Carolina.
In 1969, Fred joined the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. During his 30 year career he was assigned to various duty posts including, Lexington, Fayetteville, and Wilmington. While in Wilmington, Fred’s assignments included the interdiction and prosecution of drug smuggling organizations along North Carolina’s coast. In 1985, Fred was promoted to Field Supervisor in the counties surrounding Wilmington. Fred was transferred to Fayetteville in 1994, as the Special Agent in Charge of the Southeastern District of North Carolina. When Fred retired in 1999, he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine; was made an Honorary North Carolina Attorney General; and received various awards for service from local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies, as well as State and Federal prosecutors.
In retirement, Fred was licensed as a Private Investigator and specialized in litigation support and pre-employment background investigations. From 2001 to 2013, Fred was Director of Investigations for the Castle Branch Investigative Group in Wilmington. In 2014, Fred retired again, and enjoys spending time with friends and his participation in the Sports Car Club of America.