SAN ANTONIO -

What began in the late seventies for three young police officers from the east side will end in 2013, with story after story to tell.

Sergeant Michael Shepherd, Detective Evelyn Corbin and Patrolman Larry E. Thompson grew up blocks apart from one another during the 1960’s and 70’s on the city’s east side.

“Michael and I went to high school together and Larry grew up a few streets over,” said Corbin.

Thompson joined the police force in 1976, followed by Corbin and Shepherd in 1979.

“We did it because we wanted to make our community a safer place,” said Thompson, who remembered how some in his neighborhood weren’t thrilled with his decision.

But the trio firmly believed they were making a positive difference. Two of them put their lives on the line to prove it. Shepherd and Thompson survived a shootout in the early 80’s with a burglary suspect who didn’t want to be taken in.

“I don’t ever want to go through something like that ever again,” said Thompson.

“I just thank God I didn’t get shot,” said Shepherd.

While the risks they faced were the same as other officers, sometimes the treatment they received wasn’t. Being a black officer in the early 80s wasn’t easy, with racism still fairly prevalent throughout officer ranks.

For Corbin, being a woman only made it worse.

“I would take calls for 8 hours with someone who wouldn’t speak to me the entire time,” said Corbin. “For the first couple of years, I would cry heading into work before every shift. Sometimes I wouldn’t even get covered when I would ask for it.”

But over time, the racism and sexism faded. Corbin was promoted to detective. She and her two friends thrived in the department, and have stayed in for a long time.

They have 105 years of experience between the three of them.

“I have met some wonderful people, made some great memories and I’m going to miss it terribly,” said Shepherd.

But as they head into retirement and leave the job behind, one thing won’t change.

“I have a special bond with these two,” said Corbin. “I think they look at me as their sister.”

For a list of recent stories Matt Rivers has done, click here.