McDuff's first years on the job were marked primarily by investigations into a series of brutal murders apparently committed by a so-called axe syndicate. With assistance from Shirley, who became Sheriff of Jefferson County in 1923, the ringleaders of the gang were arrested in January 1924 and convicted.
McDuff himself was elected Sheriff in 1935 and served a four-year term.
McDuff was a member of the First Pentecostal Holiness Church in North Birmingham. His son, Frederick Jr was working as a special officer on the Frisco Railroad when he was shot by a fellow officer and killed. Milton, born c. 1893, was an identification specialist for the Birmingham Police Department. Another son, Rosamond, born in 1926, worked briefly in the department before going to work for ACIPCO, eventually as a computer programmer.
|Chief of Birmingham Police Department
|Jefferson County Sheriff
Harry E. Smith