Work with the New York Police Department
Fenton married Laura and joined the New York Police Department. Fenton's partner on the force was Jake Johansen. The two men became fast friends and spent a great deal of time together, even when they were not at work. Laura also became good friends with Jake's wife, and both women got pregnant with their first child at around the same time.
At around the time of the birth of the second son in both families, things started to go wrong, and Fenton discovered some bad things about his friend. Jewelry and other valuables started disappearing from crime scenes that the partners investigated. At first Fenton thought that the criminals were just lying, but then one day Fenton caught a glimpse inside Jake's locker and saw that it was filled with the stolen articles.
Fenton didn't want to turn Jake in, so he talked to Jake about it, and although at first he denied everything, Jake finally admitted to having a problem – some sort of compulsion to steal. He promised Fenton he would get professional help, but didn't; and even consequently, grew even worse. He started taking payoffs from criminals to steal evidence from the police department. After a few months, Fenton could no longer take it, so he turned Jake in and later testified against him during the internal affairs investigation. At the trial Jake lost it, screaming and yelling at Fenton. As Jake was dragged out of the courtroom, he vowed to get even with Fenton.
After the NYPD
A short time after Jake's trial (15 years before the Casefiles), Fenton quit his job on the NYPD and moved himself and his family back to his childhood home in Bayport, and started his practice as a private investigator.
The creation of American Teens Against Crime
During his time with the New York police, Fenton observed that there is some undercover work that an adult cannot do, like infiltrate a teen crime ring for example. It was at this time that he started thinking about a undercover agency that would employ teenagers. So when he moved to Bayport he and Carl Bruckner formed an organization called American Teens Against Crime.
Fenton drafted his own sons, Frank and Joe, as the first two agents, afterwards he often wondered if drafting them was a wise decision. He often worried about the dangers his sons and other teens who worked for ATAC faced. Many times he has wondered if it was the right decision to draft Frank and Joe into ATAC and during the events of Malled was even thinking of shutting down the organization.
At first Fenton was the leader of ATAC, but eventually gave his position to a man simply known as Q.